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Portland Public Schools new proof of vaccination rule for campus visitors

Family, friends, and students will need a vaccination card or negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to visiting any PPS campus starting next week.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Next week, Portland Public Schools (PPS) will start requiring all visitors who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to be vaccinated if they spend more than 15 minutes on any school campus. 

This rule will go into effect on Oct. 18 and applies to all indoor and outdoor activities, before or after school and on weekends. 

If a visitor is not vaccinated, school leaders require proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their visit to campus. 

Some parents, like Kim McGair, told KGW News this new procedure is an overreach.

"While I am super pro-vaccine, I think that this is unworkable in a school building," McGair said, "We're all [following the rules] because that is what we are asked to do, but there is just a certain level where it's just too much."

She has several concerns about the policy, especially when it comes to sporting events. 

"If you take, for example, athletics, who is going to verify that all the spectators are vaccinated? These are under-staffed and over-burdened schools," McGair said. 

She expressed other worries as well about the other programs that use these school facilities and fields. 

"You've got parents coming from other schools, from other districts that may not know about this. It seems like you're going to have a tension there that's not good," McGair said.

She also doesn't want the new PPS COVID-19 guidelines for schools to interfere with sports either.

"My biggest fear is that this rule shuts down those recreational leagues because they don't have the person-power to figure this out," McGair said, "to put the resources in place to check vaccine records of everybody who steps on the soccer field."

Ideally, McGair would like the visitor proof of vaccination rule to be put on pause or reconsidered by school leaders. 

PPS clarified in the new visitation guidelines students who attend a host school for before or after school events are considered students, not visitors, and not subject to these provisions.

To learn more about this policy, visitors can read the PPS campus standard operating procedure document.

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