Seaside schools will continue to follow COVID-19 protocol for social distancing, wearing masks and implementing other safety measures for the time being, although Seaside School District Superintendent Susan Penrod is optimistic about the future following the vaccine rollout for older students.
Last week the Oregon Health Authority said a Pacific Ridge Elementary School tested positive for the virus with a most recent onset date of June 10. One more case was reported at Funland.
The new mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was a little bit of a surprise to some people, Penrod said during last week’s school board meeting. “Nothing is changing for schools this school year,” Penrod said, adding students, teachers, educational staff, visitors, parents and community members must wear masks when on-site at the schools.
Earlier in May, the CDC announced that it’s safe for people who are fully vaccinated to go without masks in most circumstances. However, Oregon’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance is mandated for school districts.
Clatsop County is seeing virus cases tapper off. About 59% of eligible residents 16 and older have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. Once the county hits the 65% mark, it will be moved back into the low-risk category.
Once the state meets a threshold of 70% of the eligible population being vaccinated, there will be new risk framework that changes restrictions for businesses and organizations.
“We’re getting close,” Penrod said. “It is good news to see that not only are our cases per 100,000 going down, but also that our test-positivity rate is also going down.”
Children between 12 and 15 are now eligible to receive the vaccine. The hope, Penrod said, is that it will become available to 8- to 11-year-olds during the summer.
The board shared the results of their annual superintendent evaluation. Penrod’s evaluation focused on three goals: increased communication with all stakeholders; supporting staff and equipping them with training and the right processes to effectively provide comprehensive distance learning and hybrid learning for families; and completing the new campus and selling the old school buildings. The board determined her efforts were effective in each category, and they provided justifications and examples to support their determination.
According to board president Mark Truax, the board notes “that 2020 has been a year of epic proportions in organizing the campus relocation while navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic and believes Superintendent Penrod has done a great job in serving our district.”
Last day will be full day
At the request of Principal Juli Wozniak, the board approved a minor calendar change so Pacific Ridge Elementary School has a full day of instruction on June 17 as opposed to a half-day of instruction. This will enable both the morning and afternoon cohorts to attend the last day of the school year. Sixth- through 11th-graders will still dismiss at 12:45 p.m.