Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce discussed at a virtual meeting Tuesday, Aug. 11, the COVID-19 situation in Cannon Beach, the protocol when an employee tests positive for COVID-19, and what schools in the Seaside School District will look like this fall.
Emergency Manager Rick Hudson gave a situation report for Cannon Beach. He said Cannon Beach has been handing out face masks to the community. They will be distributing more on an upcoming Saturday in late August or early September. Hudson said he is excited to see that masks have become part of the new culture.
Doctors Vincent Aarts and Ellen Leigh-Day Heinitz from Clatsop County Public Health talked about the proper protocol when a customer or employee tests positive for COVID-19. Taco Bell in Warrenton had closed due to an employee testing positive.
“There is no hard and fast rule that businesses have to close,” Heinitz said.
Heinitz said the public health department finds out about an employee testing positive around the same time as an employer. They receive an electronic lab report from the state of positive cases and investigate.
“What triggers the closure of a business when someone tests positive for COVID-19 is a couple of things,” Heinitz said. “Sometimes businesses want to close to deep clean.”
Taco Bell is required by their corporate structure to close for deep cleaning if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, Heinitz added. If a person tests positive, they are asked to stay home.
Another trigger for closure is to conduct contact tracing. It takes time to track down contacts.
The only time a business is named publicly is if a business has over 30 employees and has an outbreak of five cases or more. Oregon Health Authority would name that business in that case.
“They try to warn that business before it happens,” Heinitz said.
Right now, the antibody testing will likely have a false positive. Antigen testing, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized in May, is designed for rapid detection of the virus that causes COVID-19. This test is what Oregon Health Authority is giving guidance on, Heinitz said.
Seaside School District Superintendent Susan Penrod discussed the plan for Seaside School District K-12 schools this fall and what to expect from the Ready Schools, Safe Learners reopening plan from Gov. Kate Brown. The school district will begin the school year with distance learning. She said when the district moved to digital learning in the spring, it was a big change for everyone.
“A lot has happened since March 12 when schools were closed by the governor,” Penrod said.
The school district has sent out several surveys to families and staff.
“Some really important information that we’ve gotten from families and from staff is our staff need more training, our families need more information and they need more support in order to have a distance learning be successful,” Penrod said.
On June 10, the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance was released to school districts. Cases in Oregon and Clatsop County started rising and people were concerned that schools would not reopen. On July 28, Oregon metrics for reopening schools was released.
“In our case rate, we do not qualify to have onsite learning at this time,” Penrod said. “Our team came back together and began working on what comprehensive distance learning looks like for our students.”
Penrod said this fall, at least 50 percent of a student’s day will be teacher-facilitated learning. This is led by a teacher live or recorded. Applied learning, such as working on homework, will consist of 50 percent or less of a student’s day. The day will also have a focus on nutrition and wellness to help students practice health habits.
Students will be in virtual classes with other students and have daily class meetings. Principals are developing a teacher leader committee to develop a common schedule for grade levels and content areas.
Onsite instruction is the eventual goal but distance learning will be available all school year if parents wish to go that route. Music, physical education and guidance lessons will be offered for elementary students.
“We’re working with all the guidance, whether those lessons are recorded or streamed in for students, we’re really taking the advice on that,” Penrod said.
Penrod said there are enough Chromebooks for every student and the school district has ordered more in case some wear out.
“We’re also purchasing more hotspots because we know that some families do not have connectivity and we want to be able to provide that for everyone,” Penrod said.
The school district is looking into some of the dead spot areas. The majority of the buses has internet and can be parked in those dead spots so families with connectivity issues can access internet.