Health & Safety Protocols

What happens if there is an outbreak in our school?

We will communicate promptly to staff, students, and families in the event that local health conditions warrant cohort or school closure or a change in instructional delivery.

In the event of closure, PPS will implement an emergency model of full-time online instruction for all students.

What happens if a student gets sick during the school day?

Students experiencing symptoms will be guided to dedicated isolation areas. Emergency contacts will be notified and will be expected to pick up their student as soon as possible. The school nurse will review the plan for the student's return to school with the parent/guardian.

How will quarantine situations be handled?

If an individual student is required to quarantine, assignments for the duration of their quarantine will be provided, but we will not be providing live, remote instruction. Those days will be counted as excused absences.

If a classroom or multiple classrooms are required to quarantine due to a positive test, we will transition to virtual instruction for the class or cohort for the duration of their quarantine period.

How will spread be prevented? (Contact Tracing)

Trained health department staff work with persons diagnosed with COVID-19 to help them recall everyone who they had close contact with while they were infectious. Health department staff will notify person(s) who may have been exposed (contacts) as quickly as possible to prevent additional spread of the disease.


  • All students and staff must wash hands or use sanitizing gel upon entering the school, before and after eating, before and after donning or removing a face mask, after using the restroom, before and after use of playgrounds and shared equipment, and upon entering and exiting a school bus.

  • Hand sanitizer, soap, paper towels will be made easily accessible.

  • Signage will be posted throughout the building to encourage appropriate health and safety practices.

Masks/Face Coverings

The Portland Public Schools has established the following Health and Safety Protocols for Optional Masking as of March 8, 2022:

  • We are adopting the updated CDC/MDOE guidance re optional masking starting on March 14.

  • Masks are optional outdoors immediately.

  • Individuals who test positive will be required to wear a mask if they return prior to the 10th day of quarantine.

  • We will monitor the federal CDC COVID-19 Community Levels, the state wastewater testing, and our pooled testing to determine if we need to make any district-wide or school-specific changes to these mitigation strategies.

  • School based health centers will still require masking in their spaces.

In addition to the transition to optional masking, we are also making the following changes:

  • Eliminating our indoor gathering limits.

  • Allowing for increased visitor access, but volunteers must continue to be vaccinated and masking will be optional.

  • Clarifying that there are no restrictions in classrooms or lunchrooms about configuration, with the continued understanding that we will maximize physical distance as much as possible in every setting.

  • Water fountains will be reopened as soon as we are able to complete all of the required testing.

  • We encourage families with students who have health issues personally or in their immediate households to consult with their healthcare providers to seek guidance on masking recommendations and other necessary accommodations given these changes to our protocols. We are willing to help students obtain masks that are recommended by their healthcare provider.

We will continue our pooled testing, hygiene and symptom checks and will keep on encouraging vaccination. All of these measures remain key tools that will allow us to continue to keep schools safe for students and staff.

Increased Cleaning

  • Special attention is being placed to disinfect high-touch points including door knobs, countertops, handrails, light switches, restroom fixtures, desks and phones, etc.

  • Restrooms, communal spaces, front desk and lobby areas will be cleaned with increased frequency.

  • EPA-registered chemicals will be used for disinfection.

Ventilation & Outdoor Learning

  • Air ventilation will be maximized to promote circulation of outside air into buildings through HVAC systems.

  • Every classroom will have at least one way of bringing in outside air or have an air purification system.

  • Duct ionizers will be installed to clean air as it is being circulated in buildings.

  • Specialized UV light fixtures are being installed in nursing areas and will be installed in most spaces without outside air sources when possible.

  • Some spaces not commonly used for classrooms may be utilized, including cafeterias, gym spaces, and other rooms.

  • Outdoor spaces will be utilized as frequently as possible within the instructional day.

Access to Drinking Water

Drinking fountains are limited to bottle-filling use only. We encourage your child to bring a labeled water bottle to fill throughout the day. Please talk to your child about the importance of not sharing or using another student’s water bottle.


Restrooms will be monitored and cleaned more frequently throughout the day. Students will be assigned a specific restroom to limit use.

Isolation Spaces

Health isolation spaces have been created in each building should a student or staff member begin to experience or display potential COVID-19 symptoms during the course of the school or work day. Be available to pick up your child at school if your child becomes sick during the school day. If it will be difficult for you to pick your child during the school day, have an “emergency plan” ready for another family member, friend or neighbor to dismiss your child from school. Please contact your school to update your child’s profile with this emergency contact information.

Visitors & Gatherings

  • Indoor visitors to schools during school hours will be limited to a handful of visitors at a time, following masking and distancing protocols. There will be no visits to occupied classrooms at this time.

  • Volunteers are allowed to participate in school or classroom activities. All volunteers are required to be vaccinated.

  • Student interns are approved to resume classroom activities. All interns are required to be vaccinated.

  • Outside groups are limited to after-school hours, when students are not in the building. Outside groups will be limited to a maximum of 100, and everyone must follow district distancing and masking procedures.

  • Large indoor gatherings, with the exception of co-curricular events (see below), are limited to students and staff and may not exceed 100 people. Groups should be able to be distanced (approx 3+ feet) and remain masked (i.e., no eating).

  • Co-curricular events happening after school hours in PPS venues can allow spectators up to 50% of venue capacity (ie, gym, theatre or auditorium) for music, drama, or athletic events. All spectators must be masked at all times indoors. There will be no concessions at PPS venues.

  • For staff meetings, a virtual option is required.

COVID-19 Vaccination

We recommend that everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated, receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Contact your physician or find a site here. In-school clinics will continue to be offered for eligible students. The DOE will be reporting on student and staff vaccination rates.

More information and multilingual resources can be found here.

We encourage all students who have been vaccinated to show proof of vaccination to their school nurse. Generally, vaccinated individuals will not have to quarantine if exposed to the virus, as long as they are symptom-free.