No Large-Scale School Reopenings Before November

No campus in Los Angeles County will be allowed to reopen to all K-12 students until at least November, although schools can begin to offer small in-person classes for children with special needs at no more than 10% of campus capacity at one time, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
Students, parents and educators had been hoping that progress against the coronavirus might allow campuses to reopen on a faster track. The small in-person classes for children who need special services, announced last week, could allow at least 200,000 students back to campus across the county.

Continue reading “No Large-Scale School Reopenings Before November”

Jericho Road Helps Pave Nonprofits’ Route to Success

Melanie Goodyear

When Jericho Road Pasadena first opened its doors in 2010, effects of the Great Recession were still being felt and many local nonprofits were in upheaval, closing or restructuring.
Now, as the organization celebrates its 10th anniversary, Executive Director Melanie Goodyear can draw some comparisons between that economic crisis and the current pandemic-induced recession, but noted that nonprofits are by and large much healthier and better informed. And that, in part, is because of Jericho Road.
“It’s really reassuring to hear about how many nonprofit organizations are not just surviving but are really rising to the occasion, pivoting operations and doing great work,” said Goodyear, sitting down to discuss the way in which her nonprofit has Continue reading “Jericho Road Helps Pave Nonprofits’ Route to Success”

Airport ‘Erroneously’ Placed on Outbreak List, Official Says

Photo by Christian Leader / Burbank Leader
Airport officials say five COVID-19 cases reported at the Hollywood Burbank Airport did not constitute an outbreak — and that Los Angeles County officials acknowledged a mistake in reporting them as one.

Burbank residents scanning Los Angeles County’s list of locations of COVID-19 outbreaks may have been discouraged to see the Hollywood Burbank Airport named last week, but the airport said the entry was a mistake.
After The Leader inquired about the listing on the county Department of Public Health website, airport officials reached out to the agency, according to Lucy Burghdorf, the airport’s director of public affairs and communications.
“They were perplexed,” she said by phone.
After a couple of days, according to Burghdorf, airport officials got their response. “The information was input erroneously,” she said the DPH had replied.

Continue reading “Airport ‘Erroneously’ Placed on Outbreak List, Official Says”

Possible Mask Enforcement to Return to Council Agenda

Photo by Christian Leonard / Burbank Leader
Whether to have police issue citations to those who fail to observe face covering requirements — unlike the men pictured above — is scheduled for discussion at a City Council meeting on Sept. 15.

After hearing from some residents who voiced frustration that the topic hadn’t been discussed, the Burbank City Council will review the possibility of fining people who don’t adhere to face covering requirements.
Council members Emily Gabel-Luddy and Timothy Murphy led the push during the panel’s Tuesday meeting to return a report on the subject to the agenda. The matter is scheduled to be discussed when the council next meets on Sept. 15.
The report, drafted by the Burbank Police Department, had been placed on the agenda before the council’s Aug. 11 meeting after Councilman Jess Talamantes requested it. But when the meeting began, Talamantes abruptly pulled the item, later saying he “didn’t feel it was the right time to discuss it.”

Continue reading “Possible Mask Enforcement to Return to Council Agenda”

Virus Stats Improve, but Quick Return to Campus Unlikely

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County have declined since last month, a trend that has made local school district officials optimistic about being able to offer in-class instruction at the elementary school level relatively soon, but any hopes for reopening campuses in the near future were dashed Wednesday by county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
“At this point, [the Department of] Public Health will not be opening up our waiver process for schools,” Ferrer said in a statement. “We will be closely reviewing the guidance from the state and will be reviewing all options with [county supervisors] to ensure that schools are able to open as safely as possible for all children and staff.
“We do need to continue taking all of the steps that we were taking these past few weeks so that our community transmission rates remain low enough for us to continue our recovery journey,” she added in the county’s update, “and a very important piece of that recovery journey is getting our children back to schools.”

Continue reading “Virus Stats Improve, but Quick Return to Campus Unlikely”

Local Doctor Helps Kaiser Medical School Shape New Healers

Photo courtesy Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine
Dr. Mark Schuster, shown speaking with students, is the founding dean and CEO of the new Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, which recently opened its doors.

Though the coronavirus pandemic has largely crippled in-person educational systems across the state, the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine opened its doors recently for the first time in Pasadena, immersing its inaugural class of 50 students in a hybrid learning model.
A La Cañada Flintridge resident, Dr. Mark Schuster, is leading the charge at the highly anticipated school, which is offering free tuition for all four years of instruction to its first five classes. The school had to quickly — and creatively — revamp operations in the final steps to opening amid COVID-19.
“We will have a hybrid model of in-person learning and virtual platforms; we looked at every component of the curriculum and decided what made the most sense for that specific topic,” said Schuster, the school’s founding dean and CEO. “We considered the full range of possibilities, and we are prepared to go fully virtual if we need to, but for now we are able to make it work with the hybrid model, and we think that’s going well.”
The school is also in the unusual position of opening its state-of-the-art, 80,000-square-foot, four-story building to just 50 students in its first year, though it will eventually house 200-plus. That left the administration with endless possibilities of creating small-group classes, Schuster noted.

Continue reading “Local Doctor Helps Kaiser Medical School Shape New Healers”

COVID-19 Report Backlog Darkens Promising County Trend

Los Angeles County public health officials are “cautiously optimistic” that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing, though they also indicated that delays in reporting are contributing to an underestimated count.
Because of the technology issues causing the delays, La Cañada Flintridge’s case count of 129, reported on Wednesday, was potentially an undercount. There were also six deaths reported.
According to the number of confirmed cases that have been reported, new LCF infections have been keeping fairly steady for some time; the case total was reported at 118 through the end of July 27, while 107 cases were reported through July 20. The largest weekly increase in July was registered from July 13 to July 20, at 14 new cases within the week.
“I, like so many, do want this to come to some type of resolve,” Mayor Mike Davitt said in an email. “We continue to work with our county and state leaders to find ways to allow business and field [usage] to reopen in a safe and prudent manner.”
Davitt also said that LCF’s leaders are considering options for programs that “could be helpful to our business in town as well as our residents.”

Continue reading “COVID-19 Report Backlog Darkens Promising County Trend”

Coronavirus Demographics: Younger People Also Afflicted

While the tally of positive COVID-19 tests grows larger, the average age of patients has been inching lower in recent weeks as the initial wave of the pandemic has surged back with fury.
When the pandemic grew in March and April, hospitals found themselves overwhelmed and low on key supplies to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and elderly men and women with pre-existing health conditions represented a large percentage of cases. A significant number of such patients came from skilled nursing facilities, whose residents sometimes made up a super-majority of deaths in a given community.
Now, in the weeks after Los Angeles County and state officials briefly relaxed public restrictions, it’s a different picture.

Continue reading “Coronavirus Demographics: Younger People Also Afflicted”

U.S. Security Adviser O’Brien Tests Positive for COVID-19

Photo courtesy U.S. State Department
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, a former LCF resident, has tested positive for COVID-19 but is experiencing only mild symptoms, according to President Trump’s administration.

Former La Cañada Flintridge resident Robert C. O’Brien, who is serving as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has tested positive for COVID-19, the White House confirmed in a statement this week.
O’Brien appears to be doing well, however, as the White House stated: “He has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site.”
O’Brien joins the 4.34 million Americans who’ve been confirmed as having the disease, which has killed more than 148,866.
The statement emphasized that there has been “no risk of exposure to the president or vice president. The work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted.”
Continue reading “U.S. Security Adviser O’Brien Tests Positive for COVID-19”

LCUSD Commits to ‘Quality’ Distance Learning to Start Year

The La Cañada Unified School District has mulled over scheduling and instruction for the upcoming school year for the past eight weeks, but its governing board’s disclosure this week that the district is going with distance learning simply confirmed an earlier decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The governor announced new guidelines last Friday that would prevent California schools, public and private, in counties on the state’s COVID-19 watch list — which monitors trends in infections and test positivity and hospitalization rates — from providing in-person instruction when the academic year begins.
“Learning is non-negotiable,” Newsom said. “The virus will be with us for a year or more, and school districts must provide meaningful instruction in the midst of this pandemic. In California, health data will determine when a school can physically open — and when it must close — but learning should never stop.”
In a special meeting Tuesday, the LCUSD announced it will open the school year with distance learning at all levels, but officials are hopeful of returning students to campus when it is safe to do so. Details of those plans, whether at half or full capacity, have not yet been finalized.
For the district’s schools to reopen, Los Angeles County must be taken off the watch list, which can happen only if coronavirus cases drop for 14 consecutive days. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases made California the state with the most confirmed infections in the nation, surpassing New York.
“The good news about our virtual academy is that it’s much better than it was before,” LCUSD board President Joe Radabaugh said by phone. “It’s going to be quality education.”
Continue reading “LCUSD Commits to ‘Quality’ Distance Learning to Start Year”