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‘We’re all in this together’: Rising COVID-19 cases in community affect Bend-La Pine Schools

(Update: Adding video, comments by Bend parent)

Schools report dozens of cases, might see rise as county figures increase

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Schools have adapted to the pandemic and created a system that officials say has worked for safe learning. However, Deschutes County is moving into the Extreme Risk category for COVID-19. While schools operate with different guidelines, they still see the effects of rising COVID-19 numbers.

There have been 70 cases of COVID-19 in the past 28 days at Bend-La Pine Schools, according to the district's dashboard. High schools have seen the bulk of these cases, and health officials say it's extra-curricular, outside-school activities that appear to be increasing young people's risk of getting the virus.

The schools with the highest numbers listed are Bend Senior High, with 15 cases, Mountain View High with 11, and Summit High School has had nine.

Meanwhile, the Bend Education Association said there were some 700 students in the district quarantining right now.

There's not a set number of cases that would lead to schools being shut down. Rather, it's up to the district to decide. However, the Oregon Department of Education recommends schools pause additional in-person learning, if the county moves up in risk.

Bend-La Pine Schools declined to comment Tuesday on how Deschutes County's move back to extreme risk on Friday will affect schools in the coming weeks.

Taylor Hanna, a Bend mom of three, is worried schools will shut down again. She's noticed the impact distance leaning has had on her children.

"Now we're going into testing and getting report cards and seeing our kids aren't meeting in certain areas -- and now we question, did we fail as parents teaching our children in digital learning, did the school system fail us -- where is it all going to come back together?" she told NewsChannel 21 on Tuesday. "Is my kid going to have to repeat the second grade? Is my daughter going to be able to go on to primary? What is the best course of action in it all? And I really don't know."

Hanna says her children's elementary school sends out weekly newsletters and is good at keeping parents updated.

"I think that kids need to stay in school," she said. "I think parents need to be vigilant and communicative with the schools and with each other. Honestly we're all in this together."

Seven-year-old Rory says she wants school to remain in-person, because she likes seeing her friends.

" I love school, because at recess I get to play with all my friends -- and I get to learn something new every day," she said.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.


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