Superintendent Update on Latest County Case Counts

Update as of March 2, 2021 - Latest 2-week look back shows an increase in Coos County cases

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Bryan Trendell

Superintendent's Message

March 2, 2021
 
Dear Coos Bay Families and Community, 
 
The latest case count is in for last week and in Coos County we unfortunately had an increase in cases. This increase pushed our two week look back up to 335 cases per 100,000 residents. This is disappointing news as we were trending downward last week and I was holding out hope to return to in-person for our 8th-12th grade students on March 8. These new numbers will push our target date back to March 15 at the earliest.
 
We will monitor this weeks numbers closely and hope for a dramatic shift in case numbers for our county. Although the latest numbers are higher, they are still within the range for us to continue with our K-7 in-person as long as we are able to mitigate cases that impact our schools, which we have been able to do so far. I will keep you all updated as I get new information.
 
Bryan Trendell
Coos Bay Public Schools
Superintendent
 
February 23, 2021
 
Dear Coos Bay Parents and Community, 
 
The latest two week look back was released yesterday afternoon. The case count in Coos County has gone down some, but still remains well within the High Risk orange zone. The good news is that case counts have come down some in our county. We hope to continue this trend moving forward. The actual number of cases is down to 168 from 188 from the previous two week period; this calculates to 265 cases per 100,000 residents in our county. Although this number is down, it is still a high number. We will be postponing our target date for return to in-person instruction for our High School students to March 8. With the numbers coming down this week, I am encouraged that we will continue to see the case numbers decrease and I’m optimistic about that target date of March 8.
 
The question has come in about why we offer in-person instruction for grades K-7, but don’t for 8-12. The difference is in the advisory metrics. K-6 and 7th grade (in our current cohort model) are recommended to be in-person at this time. At the High School, due to four classes and multiple cohorts, it is recommended that that the case count be close to the yellow zone (under 200 cases per 100,000 residents) before returning 8-12 to in-person instruction. As I have said before, we are looking for those case numbers to be decreasing and be close to that 200 per 100,000 mark to bring our High School students back to in-person instruction. After this week's report, I am optimistic that the case count will continue to go down and we will be looking at a realistic target date of March 8. I will continue to update you all as I get new information.
 
Have a great week!
 
Bryan Trendell
Coos Bay Public Schools
Superintendent
 
February 16, 2021 Update:

Dear Coos Bay Schools Parents and Community,
 
The latest two-week totals were posted for Jan. 31-Feb. 13. Unfortunately, the case numbers are continuing to trend the wrong direction. The latest two-week look back is up eight additional cases which pushed us up to 297 cases per 100,000 residents in Coos County. Last week’s two-week total of actual cases was 180, while this week’s two-week total was 188. This will cause us to postpone the return to in-person instruction for 8-12 to at least March 1. This decision follows the ODE and OHA guidance which states that when cases are trending up that we pause adding our High School students back in-person. The numbers do not require us to pause the grades that we already have in-person. As long as we are able to handle cases that impact our schools by using the safety protocols we have in place and isolating them to prevent spread between classes or cohorts then we can remain open at the K-7 level. We continue to monitor cases daily and I am hopeful that we will soon see a decrease in cases in our county. I will update you again next Monday or if there is new information to share.
 
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy,  
 
Bryan Trendell
Coos Bay Public Schools
Superintendent
 
February 11, 2021 Update: 
 
Dear Coos Bay Schools Parents and Community,
 
Well the weekly numbers have come in and the two week combination for Coos County (1/24-2/6/2021) has climbed to 284 cases per 100,000 residents. That is up from 248 last week and 202 just two weeks ago. The Oregon Department of Education guidelines state that if case trends are on the rise that we are to consider pausing implementation of our High School in-person instructional model. Our original target date to bring our High School kids back to in-person was Feb.16th. Due to the most recent data, we will postpone that date until at least February 22nd.
 
Next week we will once again look at the case numbers and make a decision on that date. As I have stated before, once we rolled out our plan with target dates we would essentially be on a week to week pattern for a decision to bring our High School students back to in-person. Also over the past two weeks we have had a few community cases impact our schools. We have had to quarantine a few classroom cohorts and bus cohorts. The good news is that, like all of the previous cases impacting our schools, we have been able to isolate the cases and control any spread between classrooms or around the schools. Due to the complexity of the High School schedule and the amount of students, this becomes more difficult when we bring them back to in-person classes. That is why we need the community cases to be on the decrease and we would like to see those cases much closer to 200 per 100,000 residents before we bring back our High School students. 
 
I encourage you to keep up the fight against the virus and keep practicing good public health protocols. Please wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance when at all possible. With the rollout of the vaccine and Pandemic fatigue, it is tempting to relax on these protocols. Please stay vigilant for the sake of our community. 
 
Bryan Trendell
Coos Bay Public Schools
Superintendent
 
 
February 1, 2021 Update: 
Dear Coos Bay Schools Parents and Community,
 
As promised, I am updating everyone on the weekly metrics as they are posted by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Today’s two-week lookback numbers climbed from 202 to 248 cases per 100,000 in our county. We continue to remain in the Orange zone which goes from 200-350 cases per 100,000. It is disappointing to see the increase in cases as we would like to see those numbers drop below 200 cases per 100,000 to move forward with bringing our 8-12 grade students back to in-person instruction.
 
At this point, our target date is Feb. 16 to bring 8-12 grade students back, but that won’t happen unless we get a two-week case number below 200. I will wait to see next Monday’s report from OHA to see the numbers and then make a decision to either continue on the trajectory for a Feb. 16 high school re-opening or to push that back one week to Feb. 22.
 
With the vaccine coming online, it might be tempting to relax our efforts in practicing public safety health guidelines. I urge our community to not relax and to continue to work hard to bring our case numbers down so our high school students that need in-person instruction can get it.
 
As always, I will update you all as new information comes in. Have a great week!
 
“One Team, One Goal”
Bryan Trendell
Coos Bay Public Schools
Superintendent
 
January 20, 2021  
 
Dear Coos Bay Schools parents and community,
 
After a late afternoon meeting with the Oregon Department of Education and some time reading last night, I would like to share two key changes to the Ready Schools Safe Learners guidance released yesterday which impact our schools and families.
 
Key Change 1: Governor Brown returned the decision for operating schools in-person to the local level on January 1, 2021. This guidance provides local leaders with guidance, information, and resources they need to make informed decisions.
 
The guidance outlined the multiple factors to consider when making decisions to transition between learning models or bring in additional grades to hybrid learning. I shared most all of these in a previous letter last week. Case numbers are one factor, but there are others we need to consider when we make a decision to change models of instructions.
 
Key Change 2: Updated advisory metrics aligned to the Harvard Global Health Institute recommendations. These metrics allow for a return to in-person instruction for elementary students at higher levels of community case rates than previously recommended. 
 
This is the biggest change to the guidance. The metrics for schools have been aligned with the Harvard Global Health recommendations. These metrics use the same color-coded scale, but the numbers have shifted. The green zone has not changed. The yellow zone goes up to 200 cases per 100,000 in the county over two weeks. The orange zone now goes from 200-350 cases per 100,000. The red zone is over 350 cases per 100,000. Another part of this chart which can be found in the guidance under “metrics explainer”, is the blue section in the bottom right corner. This section explains that if cases are trending upward that we pause adding any grade levels to in-person instruction. It also states that we should not move elementary grade levels that are already in-person to CDL in this case. The new metrics specifically call out elementary (K-6) as the priority for in-person instruction.  
 
With the information from this latest guidance, we are planning to move forward next week with bringing grades 4th - 6th back to an in-person hybrid instructional model beginning Monday, January 25, 2021.  
 
Our case numbers in the county remain over 200 per 100,000 but they are trending downward as we look at last week and the numbers for this week so far. We will continue to monitor case numbers weekly and apply the new metrics as one of the factors as we make decisions moving forward.
 
As a reminder, to give families and staff the opportunity to plan, the Coos Bay School District has established the following “target dates*" to begin in-person instruction for the different grade levels:
 
-January 25 - Grades 4-6
-February 1 - Grade 7 (This date is selected because it is the beginning of the third quarter for our secondary students)
-February 16 - Grades 8-12
*All target dates are subject to a one-week delay if factors are not in our favor. You can expect weekly communication from me as we get continue this process.
 
There is one thing I want to make perfectly clear to everyone. Now is not the time to relax on public health safety protocols. The vaccine is encouraging, but will not bring case numbers down immediately. We need to have our community case numbers trending down so that we get under the 200 cases per 100,000 to bring middle and high school students back to in-person hybrid instruction. This is going to take all of us continuing to practice public health safety protocols. Keep wearing face coverings, washing hands frequently, and social distancing when feasible. These are the things that have shown to slow the spread better than anything else.
 
As always, if you have questions, reach out to your teacher and schools. Also, you can report anonymous concerns to the district regarding the health and safety protocols within our schools and buildings using our Anonymous Concern Reporting Form under the COVID-19 resources tab at CBD9.net. I have included links below to the Ready Schools Safe Learners guidance, the Metrics Explainer, and an informational video from ODE Director Colt Gill.
I will continue to push out information as I get it. Have a great rest of the week!
 
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy,  
Bryan Trendell
Coos Bay Public Schools
Superintendent
 
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