Clallam County registers three more virus cases; Jefferson holds steady

Jefferson commissioners to hear hybrid school model

PORT ANGELES — Clallam County reported three more positive COVID-19 cases Sunday for a total of 81, while Jefferson County went its 11th straight day with no new cases, remaining at 50.

Six new cases, including three from Saturday, were reported in Clallam County this weekend. County Health Officer Dr. Allison Unthank didn’t have details Sunday on their ages or genders.

Jefferson County, which has held steady since July 15, will receive its weekly update from county Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke at 9:45 a.m. today. It can be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/ jeffcomeetings.

Locke said he will discuss with the Board of County Commissioners the reopening of schools and “what we have learned so far to control this virus.”

In her Friday update, Unthank expressed confidence it will be safe to reopen schools in Clallam County if the county can continue to keep its number of cases down, and if schools follow safety protocols that involve masking and maintaining social distance.

Locke said he is operating under the assumption that schools can reopen in the fall, but he said he is still a little “guarded” about schools doing so.

One caveat is how the virus will be circulating statewide in the fall.

“For things in our control, I’m confident that we can do those things,” he said.

But, there might be things, especially statewide, that local officials will not be able to control, he added.

“Can we keep the level of disease low enough to open the schools and keep them open?” Locke asked.

He said it wouldn’t be conducive to students if schools opened and had to close, then reopen, then close again if periodic outbreaks can’t be stopped.

Locke also stressed that everyone in the community can do their part, including avoiding large gatherings, to help schools reopen, whether they’re directly involved with schools or not.

“Everyone plays a role,” he said. “Inviting 50 friends over for a barbecue reduces chances of keeping the schools open.”

Locke said one thing he will talk about with county commissioners today is a “hybrid” model for opening schools. He said that would involve schools being open to students for in-person instruction for a couple of days a week, and they would participate in distance learning online three days per week.

The possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak can be limited by staggering days and limiting how many students are physically in classrooms, he said.

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Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached by email at [email protected]

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