A school district in Oregon was fined thousands of dollars for refusing to uphold the state’s COVID-19 mask mandate and other violations.
Located near the Oregon-Idaho border, the Adrian School District was hit with more than $11,000 in fees after the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) investigated four health violations.
Aaron Corvin of OSHA told KGW-TV that an inspection into the district was done in response to several complaints about a lack of mask usage. Those complaints led to on-site visits by OSHA inspectors, who found two violations related to masks and two violations not related to the pandemic.
Two of those violations were marked as “serious” at $420 each, while another was defined as “other than serious” at $100, according to KGW. However, the majority of the fees came from a “willful violation” of refusing to implement a mask mandate, which racked up $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,” Corvin told the news outlet.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced in June that masks would be required for all K-12 schools across the state in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The science and data are clear: the Delta variant is in our communities, and it is more contagious,” Brown said in a statement.
“My priority is to ensure our kids are able to safely return to full-time in-person learning this fall, five days per week and with minimal disruptions. With many children still ineligible to be vaccinated, masks are an effective way to help keep our kids safe in the classroom, the learning environment we know serves them best,” the governor added.
Since then, OSHA has been handing out fines to school districts that refuse to comply with the order. The most recent fine for the Adrian School District comes months after the district reportedly fired its superintendent for refusing to defy Brown’s mask mandate, per KGW. The school district did not publicly announce a reason for firing the superintendent.
Interim Superintendent Raeshelle Meyer told Newsweek on Saturday that the school has filed an appeal and requested a hearing for the violations.
The Adrian School District includes an elementary and high school with around 300 students.