Oregon Makes School Mask Mandate “Permanent”–What’s That Mean?
The word "permanent" is getting a lot of attention, and causing a lot of 'blistering' of Oregon officials from citizens and parents.
OREGON USES LAW TO SKIRT AROUND EXTENDING MASK MANDATES IN SCHOOLS
According to KGW-TV and other news reports as well as the Oregon Department of Health and Oregon Dept. of Education, today (Thursday, Feb. 3) Oregon extended "permanently" its mask mandate for schools, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.
WHAT DOES "PERMANENT" MEAN?
It's a bureaucratic tool, really. Under Oregon law, such emergency mandates as masks have to be extended or removed after 180 days. Given the current climate in Oregon, it appears officials were perhaps concerned that legislators and others could have voted or fought to allow the current mandate to expire, which technically it did on January 28th.
However, the Oregon Department of Health says these "permanent" rules simply have no expiration date. They CAN be lifted at any time, but until then, because they're permanent, they have NO expiration date.
By assigning "permanent" status to law or mandate, it can be lifted at any time, but also does not need to be 'extended' every 180 days. It could, literally, go on 'forever.'
So, Oregon is looking at no end in sight for masks in schools. A number of school districts and legislators during this session were pushing to allow Districts and communities to decide for themselves about masking, but Oregon Health officials chimed back with statements like this one (courtesy of KGW-TV report):
“COVID-19 does not recognize borders and Oregonians do travel between counties, Community spread of COVID-19 remains high in Oregon.”
It's worth noting that a local Tri-City physician told us last week, and other Doctors have said this, that COVID-19 is basically over from a pandemic standpoint. While cases are still found, we have moved through Delta, now it's waning, and Omicron is at the forefront.