OHA and ODE leaders discuss lifting outdoor mask mandate and launching Test to School program

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Director Pat Allen and Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Director Colt Gill were joined by State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger today to announce two new developments in the course of the pandemic: lifting outdoor mask mandates and launching the Test to Stay program in public and private schools.

Outdoor mask mandate lifted; indoor mask mandate still in effect

OHA has lifted the requirement to wear masks in crowded outdoor settings, such as football games, concerts, or holiday festivals. People in Oregon are still required to wear masks in indoor public settings to protect against the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

OHA still strongly recommends outdoor mask wearing for these groups to protect against disease transmission:

  • People who are unvaccinated,
  • The elderly,
  • Immunocompromised people,
  • People at higher risk of contracting the disease, and
  • People who live with someone in one of these categories.

Read the FAQ for more information.

Test to Stay program for public and private schools

Effective today, public and private schools may use the Test to Stay program to help keep unvaccinated students and staff safely in school after an exposure to COVID-19.

Test to Stay is a testing program that allows students and staff without symptoms to remain in Oregon’s K-12 schools during their quarantine period. When testing is combined with the several layers of infection risk mitigation in K-12 settings, including universal masking, physical distancing, cohorting, and ventilation, the risk of transmission is minimized. The CDC is studying Test to Stay and considers it a promising practice for minimizing quarantine and maximizing time in school.

For more information about the Test to Stay program, read the FAQ or visit OHA’s K-12 testing webpage.

View the complete news conference here.