KWSO News for Thu., Jul. 30, 2020

On Tuesday this week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and others unveiled new guidance for schools across the state as far as when schools can allow students to return.  .”  Tuesday’s presentation on schools guidance for Oregon included Gill, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the state Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sideliger who said “No matter what age, students need to be safe and healthy in order to learn.  Learning is a lifelong factor that is key to the individual’s good health.  Educators and school staff need to be safe and healthy to provide students the instruction, counseling, meals, athletics and other supports that enrich their lives and prepare them to thrive as grown members of our communities.  Parents and Guardians need to have confidence that they will not have to risk their children’s health for the sake of learning or their learning for the sake of their health by sending their kids back to school.” 

Director of the Oregon Department of Education, Colt Gill, spoke about the extraordinary steps local school districts are taking: “These New Challenges we have in how we deliver instruction will be challenging for us but I know that our school districts have been working through the summer since before we even delivered the first set of guidance on June 10th to think about how they can provide professional learning for the teachers so that they understand how they can deliver in these new settings.” 

The 509J school district is planning for Distance Learning to start the school year off for at least a six week period this fall.  In a letter to families yesterday, Superintendent Ken Parshall said:

  • the district will adopt a unified learning platform
  • There will be a virtual orientation
  • Chromebook devices will be provided for students that do not have a computer at home
  • Hotspots will be available for families that do not have internet access in the home

To read the full letter – visit the district website at

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs COVID-19 UPDATE yesterday afternoon reported 6 more cases of coronavirus for a total of 174 on the reservation since the pandemic began.  109 people have recovered.  3 Warm Springs people have died from Covid-19.

COVID-19 has claimed 8 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 311.  The Oregon Health Authority reported, early yesterday morning, 304 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 17,721

The Oregon Health Authority released their weekly report that looks at TESTING AND OUTCOMES IN COUNTIES along with Trends in Test Positivity by County.  It SHOWS THAT Jefferson County is ranked 5th in Oregon for case count per 10,000 people behind Umatilla, Morrow, Malheur & Union counties.    Jefferson County is testing more than all but 3 other Oregon counties.  Countywide – there is a rate of 8% of Covid-19 tests coming back positive in Jefferson County.

A Fire Weather Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service in Pendleton through 6 this evening for dry thunderstorms. This is in effect for most of Central Oregon.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs yesterday passed the Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act of 2019, legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to improve water quality and services for tribal communities in Oregon.   Wyden said “Between repeated burst pipes, boiled-water notices and COVID-related outbreaks, what is happening on the Warm Springs Reservation is a travesty. I am committed to assisting the Tribe through these difficult situations, and today’s Committee action brings us one step closer to ending the cycle of temporary fixes”  Senator Merkley said “Reliable access to safe water has only become more important since this public health emergency began.  Yet the crisis on the Warm Springs Reservation is just one of many examples of how tribal communities in Oregon have long faced water infrastructure challenge after challenge. Now is the time to invest in replacing outdated pipe systems, to help ensure that tribal nations have reliable access to safe drinking water once and for all.”