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Kern County nears red tier

The region has seen a decrease in the amount of new coronavirus cases this past week, giving Kern County hope for a cautious return to the red tier in the near future.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 23, Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan told the Board of Supervisors at its morning meeting that “the state will announce today that the county has an unadjusted covid-19 case rate of 16.8 per 100,000 people with a state-adjusted rate, closer to 18.5 and the county is inching closer to the red tier.

The red tier is a less restricted tier, which allows schools to begin letting students in along with indoor dining as well as the reopening of gyms.

Football and winter sports were expected to begin playing by the end of January, yet, that hasn’t happened yet.

Comments from administrators of both school districts have stated in the past that it’s difficult to determine exactly where each district stands because the numbers change every day and some school districts predict a return to school by April 2021 while others maintain that school will not resume until fall 2021 for everyone.

According to Shafter High Principal Russell Shipley, the wait is frustrating but the district is being careful to make sure that the students and staff are safe and healthy throughout the process.

Cross country meets in the Wasco Union High School District have been occurring, first with Wasco High vs. Bakersfield Christian and also Garces.

“We don’t have an update yet on WUHSD sports,” Superintendent Rob Cobb said on Monday..

In Shafter, the high school has to wait on word from the Kern High School District.

With Kern County still in the purple tier, the only sport that is acceptable for schools to participate in, according to the CIF, is cross country. Recently the Kern High School District Board decided that they would not OK schools to begin their cross country seasons, saying that the number of cases in the district are still too high to feel comfortable competing in a sports season.

That makes it unlikely that Kern High Schools will have any sports this year, unless Kern County does make it into the red tier. With a newly positioned place in the red tier, it would take Kern County schools at least two weeks to prepare for the seasons, giving the schools a narrow window in which to hold their seasons.

This past week, Wasco’s number of positive covid-19 tests was up 45 cases for a total of 5,234 cases since the pandemic began.

In Shafter, total positive cases were up by 53 cases to a total of 3,398 cases.


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