KWSO News for 4/1/20

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to roll through the state, it’s looking less likely that Oregon public schools will resume April 28th as currently planned. As OPB’s Elizabeth Miller reports, state education officials are shifting beyond what they’ve been calling “supplemental learning” – possibly for the rest of the school year. “The state provided a framework to school districts for create “distance learning for all”. The state recommends between 45 minutes and 3 hours of daily instructional time, depending on students ages. Other guidelines include making sure students regularly connect with teachers and that teachers report student progress. For high school students, schools are advised to keep credit-earning options the same as they would in a physical school setting. The state requires all districts to launch their plans by April 13. The statewide teachers union responded to the new a statement calling for those plans to avoid penalizing students without access to technology. Most school districts have planned to begin distance learning Wednesday or next Monday. O-D-E hasn’t released its plans for graduation requirements yet. Elizabeth Miller, reporting” The 509-J school district sent out an update yesterday afternoon stating there are still plans to launch supplemental learning supports starting today, with website resources and printed materials being delivered at all meal serving locations. Families are encouraged to take advantage of these resources and materials as the “Distance Learning for All” plan will be launched by April 13th.

The number of coronavirus cases in Oregon is on the rise and could peak in May, says the Lane County Public Health Officer. As of Tuesday Morning nearly 14 thousand COVID-19 Tests have been administered in Oregon with 690 returning as positive and 18 deaths reported.  There have been 8 tests given in Warm Springs with 5 returning negative and 3 pending results. No positive cases have been reported in Jefferson or Crook counties. KLCC’s Rachael McDonald has more.  “In an online press briefing, Lane County Health & Human Services spokesperson Jason Davis told reporters the estimate is based on 4 different models and local data. He says we’re still on an upward trajectory and the estimate is for a peak in cases at around 2,500 for all of Oregon, except the Portland Metro area.  “Acknowledging the fact that this could change and really is completely and utterly dependent on our ability to maintain our social distancing and staying at home, staying at home, staying at home.”  Davis says the peak is expected in early to late May, perhaps early June. He also told reporters there are 122 ventilators at hospitals in Lane County, which he says highlights the need to continue social distancing.  [I’m Rachael McDonald reporting.” The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council strongly encourages all community members to please stay home and only travel off the reservation to get essential supplies, such as groceries, medications and health needs. The Warm Springs Health and wellness Center is currently open and asks that if you are sick to call into the clinic for screening and appointment setting. The clinic is utilizing parking lot check-in service and curbside prescription service. They are also checking everybody’s temperature as they enter the building.

Today is Census Day, the reference date for the once every decade count of everyone living in the U-S-A.  The coronavirus pandemic is forcing state and local groups to change their census outreach on the fly to make sure everyone is counted by midsummer. Correspondent Tom Banse has more. “In a normal year, thousands of temporary Census takers would fan out across the Pacific Northwest and the nation in April, May and June to follow up with households that didn’t respond on their own to the census. That’s on hold because of the coronavirus.  (Long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19,) Oregon, Washington and California budgeted millions of state taxpayer dollars to boost the response rate to the federal population count. This was to be face-to-face work mostly too, which is now unsafe.  Marc Baldwin: “What’s been completely undone is the ability to do large events.” Marc Baldwin oversees Census outreach funding in the Washington state budget office. Marc Baldwin: “And so, all over the state about 500 organizations that we’ve been working with are changing their plans to do more online and virtual outreach or talking to people over the phone.” Groups like Seattle-based OneAmerica and Ashland-based We Count Oregon had hired temp workers to go door-to-door. Those folks are now phone banking and texting to encourage people to fill out the Census.  [We Count Oregon is hosting a virtual Census Day party with streamed music and speeches on Wednesday (April 1).] Some Census outreach money is being allocated to buy more (radio, TV, print and social) media promotion. This new radio spot sponsored by the group Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County specifically mentions the coronavirus. Radio spot: “It’s going to take time to recover. And We can all play just a small part in making sure our families and communities have the resources we all need by being counted in the 2020 Census.” Some minority advocacy groups are urging the Census Bureau to push back the end of the national headcount to give more time to contact hard-to-reach populations. The bureau has already extended the counting window by two weeks to mid-August.  [WEB: Oregon is on track to gain an additional U.S. House seat through reapportionment if current population projections hold.] I’m Tom Banse reporting.” Of the Northwest Tribes – Warm Springs is at about 7.6% for census count, other tribes are from 9.5% to 35%.

The coronavirus pandemic is also seeing a rise in fraud cases. Consumer protection and law enforcement officials are warning people against scammers. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports. “Miracle cures, financial assistance, and exclusive investment opportunities are but a few tricks crooks are using to get personal and financial information from their targets. [ROBOCALL AMBI (continued):…in this time of this coronavirus crisis.”] Carl Wilkerson is Chief Deputy with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. Carl Wilkerson: “There are some scams going right now where people are saying they can get you the COVID-19 government check quicker. That’s going to be a complete scam, that process hasn’t been worked out. And so anybody identifying themselves as someone who can do that is not to be a trusted source.” Scams can be done via phone, email, text, or in person. When in doubt, people can verify a company’s activities independently, or check them by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. I’m Brian Bull reporting in Eugene.” In Jefferson County, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) has received reports that many people have gotten scam calls from a person claiming to be Lt. Ellis of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department Warrant Division. JCSO Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn wants to assure you that Deputies will NEVER attempt to seek payment over the phone for anything.

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