Oregon school district facing $11,000 fine for not enforcing mask wearing, other safety violations

ADRIAN, Ore. (KGW) — An Oregon school district is facing a fine of $11,000 for not upholding the state indoor mask mandate for its students and other violations.

The current state mandate requires students to wear masks indoors and for months, Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) has been handing out fines to places not enforcing Governor Kate Brown’s mask mandate and other COVID-19 safety guidelines.

This time, the Adrian School District, near the Oregon-Idaho border, is facing a hefty fine. It’s a small district, that includes an elementary and high school with about 300 students total.

“So what the report is all about was an inspection that we conducted in response to three complaints about a lack of mask usage at the school facilities,” said Aaron Corvin with OSHA.

Those complaints led to on-site visits by OSHA  inspectors who found four violations. Two related to COVID-19, and two related to OSHA standards not related to the pandemic.

Two of those violations are marked as “serious” at $420 each. Another citation is defined as “other than serious” at $100 and a “willful violation” related to mask-wearing comes out to $10,500.

“I think bottom line though, when you look at the willful violation and you look at the overall penalty it certainly is the largest penalty we’ve issued over COVID requirements to a school district,” said Corvin.

Back in August, the Adrian School District fired superintendent Kevin Purnell. The school board wanted him to defy the governor’s mask mandate but he wouldn’t so, he was voted out.  A new superintendent started just this week.

The school district’s website does include a safe return to school plan saying students and staff are required to wear face coverings. School officials say they filed an appeal and requested a hearing for three out of the four violations, including the one for $10,500 related to the wearing of masks.

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