Indian Head Casino announced yesterday that they are extending their voluntary closure through May 1, “doing everything possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and defer to the guidelines set in place from the State of Oregon. This in response to Gov Kate Brown’s stay-at-home order and the closure on non-essential businesses. The Casino will reassess their re-opening date as new information and guidance is available. At the Plateau Travel Plaza in Madras – fuel service, propane and retail operations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The game room is closed and the Three Teepees Cafe is serving “to go” orders only.
The 509-J school district has implemented supplemental learning supports and activities online at their website (https://www.jcsd.k12.or.us/) They are also offering grade level printed materials and books at all of the meal serving locations in Warm Springs, Madras & Metolius. The district in now planning for “Distance Learning for All” that will be rolled out by April 13, as it seems likely that schools will not reopen before their summer break. Because not everyone has access to the internet – Warm Springs Telecom has set-up at 5 different locations for students and others to connect for homework or work-at-home assignments. You do need to call Warm Springs Telecom to get a password. At the WS K-8 Academy, they are handing out paper schoolwork and offering books to students with schoolwork being updated once a week. Online schoolwork is available at the 509-J website, which is set up for a week at a time.
In Madras, the Madras Redevelopment Commission is working diligently to help local businesses during this COVID-19 Pandemic. As reported by the Pioneer, the commission is running a two-page ad in the Pioneer for Local Restaurants offering take-out food at no charge to the businesses and will run another ad in next week’s Pioneer as well. The commission is also purchasing sandwich boards so drivers will have a better understanding of which businesses are open and a 3rd program that is being worked on is “Takeout Madras”, which would incentivize buying takeout. The commission is talking to retailers and are looking at the possibility of $5000 grants to help retailers establish an online presence.
If you use the Video Conferencing services of Zoom, you might want to move forward cautiously. It was reported yesterday that hackers are injecting themselves into Zoom meetings posing as a legitimate member, gathering private information and posting inappropriate information on the meeting board. It is important to note that this applies to uses outside of business as well, including children using zoom for online schoolwork. Ways you can avoid this invasive hacking is to not post or use Zoom meetings on public access channels, ensure your meetings are not open to the public, don’t share your screen or allow another to take control unless you know who they are and ensure to not disclose private information in a public access posted meeting. The FBI and Anonymous are suggesting that if you are in a meeting and suspect that it has been hacked, break the connection to the meeting immediately. If you are the meeting organizer, cancel the meeting immediately and report it at the FBI’s Cybercrime Center online.
Census Day was Yesterday. A lot of Census promotion and outreach activities originally planned for this day had to be moved online because of the coronavirus outbreak. Oregon Governor Kate Brown addressed a virtual Census Day party hosted by the Ashland-based group We Count Oregon. “Kate Brown: “Especially in these unprecedented times, I am gravely concerned that an undercount in our census will impact everyone, but especially our hard-to-count communities with fewer funds for critical public services they rely on like Medicaid, SNAP and Section 8 housing vouchers.” The 2020 Census program director for Washington state told public radio that it’s too early to tell if the current pandemic will lead to an undercount. But Lisa McLean [rhymes with plane] says she’s (also) concerned. “Lisa McLean: “When are they going to be able to get enumerators out? Because there will always be somebody who is not going to want to respond. So, there is always going to have to be some knocking on doors and we just don’t know when that will be allowed to happen again.” In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Census Bureau managers have slightly pushed back the end of counting by tacking on two weeks in August. Census leaders reiterate that you can spare a Census taker from having to go door-to-door later by answering the 2020 Census online or by phone right now.
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