Chico Unified enrollment rises CUSD recovering from pandemic and fire trauma

by Natalie Hanson
sidebar posted Sept. 24

Despite a turbulent period since the Camp Fire, further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chico Unified School District (CUSD) administrators say so far this fall, enrollment is rising and teacher staffing levels are recovering. That has given some running for the school board hope to be able to tackle multiple high-pressure concerns.

Jim Hanlon, human resources assistant superintendent, told ChicoSol last month that the district was facing some staffing issues. However, as the school year began he said in an interview that although enrollment dropped from 12,253 students in 2019 to 11,834 in 2021 -– its lowest point in five years -– it has increased to 12,176 this year. read more

Disinformation dampens enthusiasm for Covid vaccinations In Butte County, misinformation appears to affect case rates

This graph from Butte County Public Health’s Covid page shows the comparatively low vaccination rate as cases surged nationwide in recent months.

by Natalie Hanson
posted July 7

As California assesses the lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, public health experts say they are concerned about managing future health emergencies after battling a disinformation crisis.

For the last two years, county public health departments have been tasked to respond to a pandemic unlike anything seen in decades. As guidance from the California Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for managing local crises shifted weekly, local departments like Butte County’s faced an enormous task of keeping the public informed using rapidly changing methods, including Facebook and YouTube – with mixed results. read more

Medical experts warn against complacency as new COVID variant appears Counties like Butte most at risk for a surge

Enloe Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Marcia Nelson

by Natalie Hanson
posted April 16

Public health experts are urging people to stay vigilant and get vaccination boosters as the new COVID-19 variant BA.2 becomes the dominant strain of coronavirus.

Experts worry that as the new variant spreads, in counties like Butte where vaccination rates and community masking are low, communities will be particularly vulnerable.

Butte County Public Health data reports that as of April 11, the population is 55.8% fully vaccinated, 5.76% partially vaccinated and 38.35% unvaccinated. Yet, statewide, 75% of people 5 and older are fully vaccinated and 9% are partially vaccinated. read more

Project Roomkey extended in Butte County Some motel space will be available through March 2022

photo by Karen Laslo
District 2 Supervisor Debra Lucero

by Leslie Layton
posted Dec. 17

The Butte County Board of Supervisors made funding available this past week to extend Project Roomkey – the state program that utilized federal funds to house at-risk homeless people during the pandemic.

In a 5-0 vote, the board on Dec. 14 approved a proposal brought forth by supervisors Debra Lucero and Tami Ritter that allocates $1.5 million from the county’s General Fund for motel rooms for unsheltered senior citizens or individuals with chronic health conditions who need isolation or quarantine during the pandemic. The rooms will be available until the end of March and the occupants will receive services to help them maintain quarantine, such as meal delivery. read more

Pandemic’s painful toll in Butte County discussed at briefing Panelists call for dialogue, stronger leadership

photo by Leslie Layton
Butte County Public Health’s Victor Rodriguez speaking at a statewide media briefing.

by Leslie Layton
posted Dec. 11

Butte County’s abysmal COVID-19 vaccination rate is a symptom of an anti-science movement that has cost lives, polarized communities, and contributed to a “climate of denial,” panelists said at a statewide media briefing.

Five Butte County residents made up a panel at a briefing sponsored by Ethnic Media Services earlier this week to discuss this region’s COVID toll. They reminded a Zoom audience of 62 people that the county has been ravaged by wildfires, its residents slammed by soaring housing costs. On top of all that, misinformation about the virus has further polarized communities. read more

Break the “local silence” on Covid Chico teen says youth need "dialogue of healing"

photo courtesy of Maya Klein

by Maya Klein
guest commentary
posted Dec. 10

Ed. note: This is a condensed version of a presentation made by Chico’s Maya Klein at a Dec. 7 statewide Ethnic Media Services briefing.

My high school — Inspire School of Arts and Sciences — is a bubble within Chico. Our student vaccination rate is 82%, and our population generally follows mask and hygiene guidelines.

Our 2020-2021 school year remained almost entirely on Zoom classes, following a 1×8 schedule in which we delved into a single class for each month until the end of the school year. During this time, other high schools within Chico had returned to in-person learning, and as a result, student Covid cases began to increase. read more