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700 Bend-La Pine students quarantined: Does the school district need a ‘Plan B’?

(Update: Adding stats on cases, quarantine, new dashboard number)

'We have a lot of kids at home right now'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend-La Pine School Board met Tuesday night to discuss the status of school reopening and reflected many of the questions -- and tension -- seen across the community as COVID-19 case numbers rise and Deschutes County returns to the "Extreme Risk" category..

Interim Superintendent Lora Nordquist addressed the issue with the board. She told board members there had been 58 cases of COVID-19 among students in the past 10 days, which has resulted in about 700 K-12 students being placed in some form of quarantine, or about 5% of the total student body.

"I mean my feeling is, if our case counts don't start going down fairly soon, we might need to look at a Plan B," Nordquist said. "I'm not quite sure what that is, but we have a lot of kids at home right now." 

Board Member Amy Tatom also asked Nordquist if the tracking of case numbers in the district is correct. Tatom said many parents are complaining on social media about the transparency of actual case numbers.

School District Director of Safety and Communication Julianne Repman said positive case notifications should be pushed out immediately, but there could be a glitch in the spreadsheet, or it's not getting input correctly.

That issue apparently was resolved, as the number of cases in the past 28 days rose to 93 on the school district's dashboard Wednesday morning, including 20 cases at Bend Senior High, 12 at Summit High and 10 at Mountain View.

Repman added that as cases are rising, school nurses have become overwhelmed.

Board members Julie Craig and Amy Tatom also expressed their frustration with those in the "anti-vaccine" community, who they say have berated and threatened them for their decisions throughout the pandemic.

"We've been cussed at, we've been called horrific names, we've been threatened on numerous occasions over the last year," Craig said. "Frankly, I'm just so done with it." 

Tatom, who works as family nurse practitioner, says she's also tired of being disrespected and called names by community members for trying to make safe decisions.

"Being called a Nazi is not something that should ever be accepted in our society," Tatom said.

Tatom says she hopes parents can respect a child's personal decision to get a vaccine.

"If you do not believe the vaccine is right for your child, I hope you have faith in yourself and your relationship with your child that they're going to make a decision that you agree with -- or that you can understand why they're making the decision they do," she said.

She says she constantly hears and sees misinformation spread on social media, and even from her own patients.

"As someone who has to deal with that misinformation every day, like my patient today that said something so absurd about vaccines," Tatom said. "I said, Yeah, I've never heard of that. Let's look that up together.' We looked it up, spent five minutes, and couldn't find any evidence of it. He said, Well, I read that on Facebook.'"

"Cool, that's awesome," she said after a brief pause. "Thank you for undermining the health and well-being of our community."

Repman says the district will work to keep their tracking of cases updated as frequently as possible.

As of now, the district says they have no plans to change their current teaching model.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.

Comments

46 Comments

  1. While theyre at it, time to remove the anti-masker crazys from official contact with the districts kids, whether its in class or extra-curricular… putting mask deniers in high up positions on the news, and then acting surprised when we have a bat flu spike 🙄

  2. I just want to know when someone will give a little praise to the district food services employees that have been working straight through everything since March of last year making sure people have food to eat and being greatly understaffed? They have to wear masks, even when working alone, and rarely ever get breaks.

  3. The statement that parents should rely on their child’s decision whether to vaccinate or not is preposterous. Our job as parents is to do what we as responsible, intelligent adults feel us best for our children. Relying on our children to “make the right decision” is downright stupid. Then Tatom illustrates the lunacy of her statement by highlighting a student who is getting their info from Facebook.

    1. Really? So, I’m a geographer, a sailor and one generation out from a Holocaust survivor.

      Don’t lump me in with those idiots.

      There’s proof that the world is round – trust the science. There is no science that says otherwise.
      There’s zero doubt in any sane human that the Holocaust is real. Trust the science/proof.

      There’s conflicting evidence in the efficacy of masks for the coronavirus. There is no scientific consensus. There may be political consensus, but there is not 100% agreement with scientists that masks will prevent transmission of Covid 19.

      You probably say trust the science? Which science? If there is a completed, peer reviewed study, show it to us. Not anecdotes. Not…well, it can’t hurt…that is not science.

      Your comment makes you sound like you are an anti-semite. You are not welcome in my town, science denier.

        1. Thank you for ignoring the question. I have your attention, but you still can’t answer it. Confirmation bias is strong with you.

          Lumping me in with holocaust deniers and flat earthers? Yeah, you are an anti-semite, and you can’t answer the question.

          f there is a completed, peer reviewed study, show it to us. Your intuition doesn’t count. A politician’s speech doesn’t count. Anecdotes don’t count. I can prove the world is round. I can prove the holocaust happened. Now, its your turn, prove that masks will stop transmission of Covid 19.

          1. There are lots of idiots types in this world, but just because you fit one definition doesn’t mean you fit them *ALL*, although I imagine you do check off quite a few. Quite simply, anti-mask idiot holocaust denial idiot. I was curious what ridiculous logic you used and you didn’t disappoint.

      1. Evidence? How about the Journal of the American Medical Association, which is peer reviewed – “community mask wearing is an effective nonpharmacologic intervention to reduce the spread of this infection, especially as source control to prevent spread from infected persons, but also as protection to reduce wearers’ exposure to infection.”(Feb 2021). More evidence? How about the Lancet, which is also peer reviewed – “an increase in community transmission control with increasing face mask usage was found, which remains after accounting for other differences across the country, such as mobility, and control is enhanced when mask wearing is combined with physical distancing. Rader and colleagues support an increasingly convincing body of evidence that speaks to the importance of mask wearing to mitigate ongoing waves of transmission as vaccines begin to be rolled out.” (Jan 2021) There are more studies, but regardless of how many studies have proven the effectiveness of masks, I suspect you will continue to deny that which is proven.

        1. What about studies that say the opposite? Which science to believe? Pick the one that supports your belief? That’s known as confirmation bias, and you seem to have it bad.

          1. What about, what about, what about the OVERWHELMING preponderance of studies that say otherwise? There’s the rest of the world, then there’s the RabidAmericanRight, where somehow a guy fed up with holocaust denial is an anti-semite. You people are nuts.

        2. Interesting points- good supportive evidence… I’ve said from day one that masks are an essential “part” of a complete PPE package- I won’t go into all the rest… but considering your support for masks- the lockdowns- the school closures- for over a year… how is it- none of this is showing any progress- even after four months of vaccinations ! Isn’t it time to admit- that the whole hoax is now starting to reveal it’s bloomers ? That the elderly that are dying of old age- are just that- geriatrics living out their full life- at least that’s what the data shows… there is no “abnormal” high rate of deaths anywhere on the planet. The death rates are within norms across the US… so what’s really going on here ?

          1. The Economist magazine did just that, compared excess deaths to historical averages, then compared excess deaths to what was reported by the various countries as deaths from Covid19. The chart produced leads one to suspect that many countries are underreporting deaths from Covid. The Journal of the American Medical Association also has a study that states the United States had nearly 23% more deaths than expected, or as of January 2021, more than 520,000 extra deaths. That nearly corresponds with the reported deaths by Covid.There are other studies showing the same, but just like smedley, it matters not what the facts say if it doesn’t correspond to your preconceived talking point.

            1. Ooopsie doo… you were doing so well until you decided to go off the deep end into some conspiracy BS and be selective and subjective about what data you would accept- and what you wouldn’t… why make this statement ??? “The chart produced leads one to suspect that many countries are under-reporting deaths from Covid.” ! What makes you think that only “Merika is providing accurate data- I would say no… because US hospitals are being provided financial incentives to inflate their kovid kases- the US is completely unreliable ! Throw in the fact that the US had a US Presidential election stolen right under their very noses… and it’s best to remember the basics… Rule #1- always follow the money !

              1. My comment is based on what the Economist stated – “The table below shows that, in most places, the number of excess deaths (compared with our baseline) is greater than the number of covid-19 fatalities officially recorded by the government.”
                There is a saying, which seems appropriate when communicating with people like you – Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
                We are done here.

      2. There’s a pretty simple risk-benefit analysis here.

        You wear a mask and you didn’t need to. Risk?

        You didn’t wear a mask but should have. Risk?

        1. Oh ? So now yer a risk assessment guy ?? OK- I’ll play… the formula is simple- “probability X’s consequences equals risk”… So what is the probability of getting infected- pretty damn low… and the consequences… 98% survival- nearly zero negative effects on children- only harms geriatrics with underlying conditions. On a scale of 1-10… I give it a 2 ! I’d say driving your car home on a Friday or Saturday night has twice the risk… the data don’t lie… so here- lemme put your nervous mind at ease… how much you want for your car ???

  4. It’s really anti-maskers, anti-vaxers and deniers causing this spike along with the younger population that didn’t have a shot yet. Anti-vax teachers get to go home for two weeks if exposed and there are no subs to take their places, while the vaxed teachers stay in the buildings and pick up their slack! sounds like freedom right?

    1. But what do you care about anti- vaxers- anti maskers- anti Joe Bidens and anti Kovid Kates… if you are wearing your mask- getting vaxed- and stay 6 feet away ??? Isn’t that how “you” keep yer damn nose outta everybody else’s business ??? Karen !!!

      1. Why do you want to keep us shut down? we want to open up but covidiots like you keep testing positive and shutting us down! why you you hate this community so much **** stain!

  5. Every parent should consider public schools as the plan “B”. The plan “A” should be forget about public schools and adopt home school or private school as the primary plan. Case in point “As of now, the district says they have no plans to change their current teaching model.” The government model is Failure!

      1. Notfooling is one of those goofs that thinks everyone did their best work in high school ! “Glory days- they’ll pass you by” !

  6. Oh my goodness. Will you guys grow up (Tatom and Craig), and stop with the victim mentality? This is about the children, and has nothing to do with you personally. So you have been called names, big deal I have been called names all of my life. You hold a public position of course you are going to be called names. If you do not like it, resign from your positions.

  7. Idiots don’t even realize there is no need to quarantine anymore because their logic fails them. 1). Kids are more likely to have complications from the Flu than covid. THATS A FACT. 2). Anyone can get a vaccine that wants it!. 3) therefore, using logic, you realize you don’t need to be responsible for other people’s health because you have the ability to protect yourself. What is so hard to understand about this?!?! Simple logic dictates no more quarantines or lockdowns. If you think “but but but hospital overflow glglrlgrgl….) That won’t happen now AND hospitals ALWAYS operate near capacity as a matter of practice.

  8. “Being called a Nazi is not something that should ever be accepted in our society,” Tatom said”… That is simply not true ! The moderation policy here at KTVZ allows for all forms of name-calling and bullying- that is according to the site moderator who will defend the practice of using the term Nazi against the US President or a common local commentator… I find it hilarious how many of us have informed the Z that their basic understanding of ‘offensiveness” is not the accepted norm for societies- but probably more accepted within vulgar groups like the radical left- socialists- and Barney’s kids ! Ms. Tatom should demand her comments be removed from this site to really show her displeasure with these media sites that continue to promote- hate- anger- and profanity !

      1. Tell the parents above that ! They are trying to educate you on what is acceptable and unacceptable public discourse… a subject you have clearly lost touch with- probably has a lot to do with Kalamity Kate’s shutdowns for over a year now ! I personally have no sympathy for either side at this point- you all had the opportunity to recall this dictator and her security detail… if you didn’t sign- you shouldn’t whine ! And that’s the truth-Ruth !

  9. Make no mistake parents… your children will be scarred for life from this ordeal. The loss of more than a year of schooling- isolation- the constant media promotion (by places here like KTVZ) of death- destruction- fear… all over a mild virus (and that’s what the CDC and WHO term it) that absolutely harms them in no way ! I cannot believe how low our US media has sunk to undermine a presidency and promote a nationwide lockdown that to date has been identified as doing more harm than good- there is no argument- the data is clear- Guv Brown has set out to attack and mentally assault the citizens of the state… either stop yer belly aching- or do “something” about it !

  10. Doesn’t school end in June anyway? Where we are 2 days away from May at this point, with such a huge spike in cases among students (and the county) it seems common sense to just finish the year distanced again. Those who keep arguing that covid doesn’t affect young people as much seem to be forgetting they are easily spreading virus to their family members who may be more vulnerable. This spike coincides with schools opening up again, post Spring Break and post Easter…does not seem coincidental. I feel for the students. I can’t imagine how hard it must be. But with hospital at 92% capacity and 34 covid patients we clearly need to make some changes. If we are going to shut down indoor restaurants and limit numbers in gyms and other businesses the school situation needs to be seriously looked at too.

    1. At what capacity does the hospital need in order to operate without going broke? 80 to 85 percent

      In a normal year how often has the hospital met or exceeded 92 percent capacity? You may be surprised with this answer.

      Why no one is asking or challenging numbers that look scary, but in reality are not baffles me. The journalists refuse to ask tough questions.

      1. With massive influx of new residents, as well as people coming in sicker and sicker after delaying medical care because of covid, the hospital was already extremely busy prior to this recent increase in covid numbers. ( this does not include elective surgeries which are mostly being done as outpatient-short stay) What will happen if the hospital hits 100% capacity and that number includes all of its campuses- Prineville, Redmond, and Madras? Patients will be placed in overflow areas or need to be shipped to other hospitals, assuming there is room elsewhere. Staffing will be spread thinner than it already is. The idea is not to get to that point. So we look to where covid outbreaks are occurring and we can clearly link cases to the schools. It makes sense to follow the lead of Culver and Sisters schools at this point and return to distance learning. And again, the hypocrisy of limiting capacity in businesses and restaurants again but allowing students to continue at regular levels is glaring.

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