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Policy

Update to COVID-19-related policies

Head Start of Lane County (“Head Start”) is following federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidance related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19) pandemic closely, including executive orders and announcements issued by Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidance and regulations, Oregon Department of Education guidance, and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance related to the new evidence on the highly contagious B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of COVID-19.

Definitions

“COVID-19” means a disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

“Face shield” means a clear plastic shield that covers the forehead, extends below the chin, and wraps around the sides of the face.

“Face covering” means a cloth, polypropylene, paper or other face covering that covers the nose and the mouth and that rests snugly above the nose, below the mouth, and on the sides of the face.

“Indoor spaces” means anywhere indoors, including but not limited to public and private workplaces, indoor areas open to the public, building lobbies, common or shared spaces, classrooms, elevators, bathrooms, transportation services, and other indoor space where people may gather for any purpose.

“Mask” means a medical grade mask.

“Outdoor space” means anywhere outdoors where people may gather for any purpose, including but not limited to public and private playground, workplaces, shared or common spaces, outdoor sports fields, and other outdoor venues.

“Private individual workspace” means an indoor space within a site used for work by one individual at a time that is enclosed on all sides with walls from floor to ceiling and with a closed door.

INDOORS Masking Requirement for Employees, Volunteers, and Students

Effective immediately, employees—including without limitation teachers, substitute teachers, administrative staff, temporary staff and drivers— students, and volunteers, including those “fully vaccinated,” are required to wear a face covering or mask when in an indoor setting:

  • At the Head Start center during pre-school program hours;
  • Engaged in educational activities, such as field trips or off-campus classes during regular pre-school program hours;
  • At the Head Start center engaged in educational activities outside of regular pre-school program hours; and
  • Engaged in transporting staff, students, volunteers, or visitors—whether driving or as a passenger.

Per OHA rule and guidance, an individual is not required to wear a mask when in an indoor setting if the individual is:

  • Actively eating or drinking;
  • Sleeping;
  • Engaged in a physical activity such as swimming, other water sports, or a activity where wearing a mask could be a strangulation hazard such as gymnastics or tumbling.
  • Alone in a private individual workspace ;
  • Is under the age of two, or
  • Has a medical need or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask.

Outdoors

Because outdoors activities at Head Start involving sustained close contact with other people and physical distance cannot be consistently maintained, effective immediately, employees—including without limitation teachers, substitute teachers, administrative staff, temporary staff, and drivers—students, and volunteers, including those “fully vaccinated,” are required to wear a face covering or mask when in an outdoor setting.

  • At a Head Start site during regular pre-school program hours.
  • At the Head Start center during regular pre-school program hours engaged in educational activities.
  • Engaged in educational activities, such as filed trips or off-campus classes during regular pre-school program hours; and
  • At the Head Start center engaged in educational activities outside of regular pre-school program hours.

An individual is not required to wear a mask when in an outdoor setting if the individual is:

  • Actively eating or drinking;
  • Sleeping;
  • Playing a musical instrument that requires using the mouth, if six (6) feet of distance can be consistently maintained;
  • Engaged in physical activity such as swimming, other water sports, or a sport where wearing a mask could be a strangulation hazard such as gymnastics or tumbling.
  • Is under the age of two; or
  • Has a medical need or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask.

In addition to wearing a mask, people may choose to wear a face covering, a face shield, and other protective safeguards for a number of reasons, including personal comfort level or if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised. All Head Start employees are expected to be supportive of their co-workers’ choices and Head Start employees should refrain from speculating about an individual’s vaccination status based on what type of mask an individual is wearing or other health and safety measures the individual is engaging in.

Requests for Accommodations

Head Start is committed to complying with the laws protecting qualified individuals with disabilities. Head Start will provide a reasonable accommodation for any known physical or mental disability of a qualified individual with a disability to the extent required by law, provided the requested accommodation does not create an undue hardship for Head Start and/or does not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the employee or others in the workplace.

If you require an accommodation to this policy, you must notify your supervisor and the Human Resources Office. Once Head Start is aware of the need for an accommodation, Head Start will engage in an interactive process with you to identify possible accommodations that will enable you to perform the essential functions of the job.

Students and parents of students who have a specific medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask should contact the Regional Manager and the Head Start Health and Safety Consultant. Once the Agency is aware of the need for an accommodation, the Agency will engage in an interactive process with the student’s family to determine possible accommodations.

Per OHA guidance, schools that grant medical or religious exceptions must take “reasonable steps to ensure that unvaccinated teachers, school staff and volunteers are protected from contracting and spreading COVID-19.” Reasonable steps may include without limitation weekly testing, a fitted n95 mask, additional distancing, a facemask with a face shield, a remote workspace, or other steps. In some circumstances, “reasonable steps” may also include unpaid leave.

Consequences

Employees and volunteers who refuse or fail to follow workplace requirements, including without limitation Head Start’s face covering policy, may be subject to disciplinary and/or corrective action, up to and including possible dismissal from employment.

Students who choose not to a mask cannot be provided with in-person instruction. The Agency will address individual situations in which students choose not to wear masks in accordance with this policy.

Anti-Retaliation

Head Start prohibits retaliation against any employee, student, or volunteer for filing a good-faith complaint regarding conduct in violation of this policy. Head Start will not tolerate retaliation for raising a good-faith concern, for providing information related to a concern, or for otherwise cooperating in good faith in an investigation of a reported violation of this policy. Any employee who retaliates against anyone involved in an investigation is subject to disciplinary and/or corrective action, up to and including termination. Any retaliation by a student or volunteer will be addressed in accordance with Head Start policies and procedures.

Dos and Don’ts of Facial Coverings

Here is a quick guide to refer to

The following list of dos and don’ts is being provided to you if you decide to use a mask or facial covering. If you have any questions concerning the masks, please contact Val Haynes, Health and Safety Consultant. If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or any other symptoms of illness, please contact your Supervisor immediately or Human Resources.

DOs

  • Do – Use it to completely cover your nose and
  • Do – Read the directions provided to you on use of the mask.
  • Do – Put it on properly and adjust it as necessary throughout the day
  • Do – Wash your hands and face after removing the mask before touching your
  • Do – Keep it clean.
  • Do – Keep it away from equipment that could entangle the mask.
  • Do – Keep it on your person when you are not using it.
  • Do – Request a new one if it becomes damaged or in any way unsanitary.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t – Wear masks with holes, gaps, openings, or vents.
  • Don’t – Let it obstruct your vision.
  • Don’t – Wear it if it causes any difficulty in your ability to breathe.
  • Don’t – Wear it if it causes your safety glasses or reading glasses to fog up and impair your vision.
  • Don’t – Let it hang down around your neck.
  • Don’t – Lay it on a surface where it may contaminate the surface or lay it on a surface that may already be contaminated.
  • Don’t – Wear it where it may come in contact with running machinery or create a hazard while performing your work.
  • Don’t – Take it home, dispose of it at the workplace.
  • Don’t – Use it if it is damaged in any way.

Please note that as federal and state authorities, including the CDC, the Oregon Department of Education, the OHA, Oregon Occupational Safety and Health (Oregon OSHA), release new health and safety guidance and requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Head Start will continue to review and update our COVID-19-related policies and procedures as warranted and inform you of any change.

Policy Council approved July 2021

Revised: August 2021

Updated: July 2021. August 2021. September 2021