Update: OHA to lift statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces and schools March 19

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has announced lifting mask requirements for indoor public spaces and Oregon’s schools on March 19.

Earlier this month, OHA announced that the K-12 mask rule would be lifted on March 31.

Current modeling from Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) indicates that hospitalizations will fall below 400 or fewer Oregonians per day by March 19, a level the state experienced before the arrival of the Omicron variant in Oregon.

Over the past several days, Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and OHA have been engaging with local school and public health officials. These officials expressed a strong need to keep alignment between the dates for lifting the statewide face covering expectations in the K-12 settings with the lifting of the general indoor public spaces masking requirement. In addition, school and district leaders confirmed they can thoughtfully prepare for this transition by March 19 and take necessary actions to ensure students can safely remain in classrooms.

It is important to continue implementation of indoor face coverings in schools until March 19 to help Oregon fully overcome its largest COVID-19 surge brought on by the Omicron variant. OAR 333-019-1015 will remain in effect until March 19.

Face Covering Recommendations

Even after statewide face covering requirements are lifted, state officials strongly recommend that students and staff in high-risk groups continue to wear masks in indoor public settings and continue to strongly advise the implementation of universal masking in indoor K12 settings. K12 settings are congregate settings where children are required to attend. They bring together vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, as well as individuals who are at higher risk for sever COVID-19 illness.

High risk groups include people who are unvaccinated; immunocompromised; at high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization; 65 and older or with underlying health conditions; and those living with people who have underlying health conditions.