Banks, Banks School District, Health

Banks School District: No plans yet to close or cancel school or activities during coronavirus outbreak

Photo: Chas Hundley

OREGON – Have you heard? The coronavirus, COVID-19, is in Oregon. 

In fact, people who have are presumed to have the coronavirus have been in Hillsboro, in Lake Oswego, Walla Walla and probably elsewhere throughout the state and county. 

In Washington, 9 people have died from COVID-19, the majority of cases linked to one nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., according to the Seattle Times

According to the Oregon Health Authority, three people in Oregon are presumed to have the virus, pending final confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control. 

Additional information on the coronavirus from the Oregon Health Authority can be found here or by calling 211.

The first positive case was a Washington County adult resident who works at the Forest Hills Elementary School in Lake Oswego. 

The second, according to the OHA, was an adult household contact of the first case.

And the third was an adult from Umatilla County in Eastern Oregon who attended a youth community basketball game in Weston on Saturday, Feb. 29. 

“Under federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, other spectators who may have been in a closed environment with the individual would be considered “low-risk” exposures,” the OHA said in a press release

These cases are thought to be an example of community transmission, which means, with the exception of the second case, the origin of infection is unknown. 

In other words, they caught it from someone else in the community who has not yet been diagnosed. 

Locally, school districts, local governments, and businesses are reacting to the coronavirus. 

According to a statement released to parents of students in the Banks School District, the district is closely monitoring the outbreak. 

“We will update staff and families as the situation evolves. We have no current plans to close or cancel school, classes or activities at this time, however, if the illness spreads, we will work with public health officials to determine next steps,” the letter from BSD superintendent Jeff Leo read. 

Should the district close facilities, those decisions will be announced through the school’s Flashalert page and on the district website

Meanwhile, the Oregon School Activities Association is similarly monitoring the situation. 

“We will continue to have frequent contact with the OHA and SMAC to determine if and when any additional measures, including decisions about modifying/postponing/cancelling any athletic/activity events, need to be taken,” a statement from OSAA read.

According to the OHA, some precautions to take regarding the coronavirus are:

• wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer 

• avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands 

• avoid contact with people who are sick 

• stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others 

• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing

Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing, difficulty breathing, and, very rarely, death. Some may have mild symptoms, and others may have severe symptoms requiring hospitalization. The OHA asks those worried they may be at risk to call their health care provider for instructions and advice. 

For continuing updates regarding the outbreak, consider following the work of journalists at the Oregonian and OPB. While our news organization will continue to cover the impacts the outbreak will have on our communities, the larger staff of these organizations are better equipped to deliver immediate updates concerning the outbreak.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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