Estacada takes precautions against COVID-19
In response to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, several Estacada locations will close for the next several weeks.
As of early this week, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the local community. But across the state, 39 people have been diagnosed with the infection caused by the novel coronavirus as of last weekend. On Saturday, March 14, a 70-year-old Multnomah County man became the first person in Oregon to die from the virus
Over the weekend, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 1,629 COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 41 deaths from the virus.
On Monday, March 16, Gov. Kate Brown banned all Oregon restaurants, bars and other food establishments from serving food inside their businesses. All food must be served carry-out or via delivery. Establishments not compliant with the new orders will be subject to a misdemeanor, Brown said.
Both President Donald Trump and the state of Oregon declared COVID-19 an emergency.
The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners extended its emergency declaration to Tuesday, June 30, though they did not declare a public health emergency.
The declaration enables the county to seek out added resources from the state to deal with the effects of COVID-19. It also allows county leaders to streamline resources and staffing and establish emergency policies and protocols, and may allow the county to recoup financial costs associated with the emergency response.
On Wednesday, March 11, Gov. Brown said gatherings of more than 250 people will be canceled for at least four weeks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In response to the outbreak, Estacada City Hall, Estacada school buildings, the Estacada Public Library and several other locations are closed for the rest of this month.
Several hours before Gov. Brown announced a statewide closure of schools, the Estacada School Board voted during a meeting on Thursday, March 12, to close school buildings and have virtual school days Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 20. Spring break will occur as scheduled, from Monday, March 23, through Friday, March 27.
On Monday, March 9, the Estacada School District was closed to students as teachers prepared five days worth of virtual curriculum in case of an extended closure. The district developed its virtual school days program last year to prepare for inclement weather.
"This decision has been made thoughtfully with the support of district, school board, and community input. While we have no cases in our district at this time, we want to take a proactive approach to ensuring the health of our community, and we are excited to be able to offer advanced distance learning opportunities," Estacada School District Superintendent Ryan Carpenter wrote in a letter to families.
During last Thursday's school board meeting, Carpenter noted that the district has purchased 100 hot spots for students without home internet access. Additionally, meals will be available for every student in the district younger than 18: bus routes will drop off food at all stops daily, or families can visit Wade Creek Park from 9:30-10:15 a.m. and the Estacada Fire Station from 10:30-11:15 a.m. each day.
Earlier on Thursday, the school district announced that events bringing large groups of people together, including school field trips and assemblies, would be canceled or rescheduled as a precaution.
At Summit Learning Charter, the Eagle Creek and Tigard campuses will be closed through Monday, March 30, and online classes will continue as scheduled.
"You should also expect that as Virtual Educators, SLC is 100% prepared to maintain our virtual connection, digital presence, regular grading, and remote communications," Summit Learning Charter Principal Sean Gallagher wrote in a letter to families.
Estacada city leaders announced last week that City Hall will be closed to the public through Monday, April 6, and most employees would be working remotely through that time. Public works and field employees will follow their normal routines.
The majority of city meetings through April 6 are canceled. Because of time sensitive ordinances on the Monday, March 23, Estacada City Council meeting, councilors will participate via phone rather than meeting in person.
"While we were evaluating what we should do, we feel we can offer the same assistance by working remotely. We want to get ahead of the game," said Estacada City Manager Denise Carey when the closure was announced on Thursday, March 12.
All city employees will be available via phone and email, and contact information is available at cityofestacada.org. Community members who need to make payments can bring them to the drop box near the front door of City Hall or do so on the city's website. Municipal court dates through April 6 will be rescheduled to a later date.
Like City Hall, the Estacada Public Library will be closed through Monday, April 6. All library events and classes during that time are canceled, as are gatherings in the Flora Room that were not sponsored by the library.
Due dates for items checked out prior to the closure have been extended through Thursday, April 30. Patrons are asked not to return items prior to that time.
During the closure, library staff will be available via phone from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"The safety and health of our patrons is the most important thing," Estacada Public Library Director Michele Kinnamon wrote on Facebook.
Though the Estacada Community Center will be closed to the public through Monday, April 6, the Meals on Wheels program will continue operations. Community center staff will also deliver meals for seniors age 60 and older and people with disabilities. Those who visit the center for lunch or breakfast are encouraged to sign up by calling 503-630-7454.
At Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, students were encouraged to stay home from campus this week.
"We will work to find ways for you to successfully complete your classes," a statement on the school's website said.
Clackamas Fire noted that non-emergency appearances by first responders and use of meeting rooms will be canceled for 30 days.
"The fire district will be taking proactive steps to reduce any unnecessary exposure to our community and our personnel," leaders wrote on Facebook.
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