SoCal Lockdown Begins
San Diego County officials reported 1,703 new cases of COVID-19 and seven additional deaths on Sunday. It looks like we’ll all be staying close to home. Southern California’s ICU capacity dropped over the weekend triggering a regional stay at home order at midnight last night. On Saturday the ICU bed capacity was at 12.5 percent, below the 15 percent threshold issued by the governor last week. Under the orders... businesses and recreational facilities are forced to close. that includes indoor and outdoor playgrounds, indoor recreational facilities , hair salons and barber shops, personal care services, museums, zoos, and aquariums. Restaurants will be restricted to takeout and delivery service only. The orders will be in place for at least three weeks. The Southern California region consists of San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, Imperial, Inyo, Mono, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Gusty Santa Ana winds and low humidity have the National Weather service concerned. The agency issued a red flag warning that will be in effect until 10pm tomorrow night. A high wind warning is also issued until tomorrow afternoon for the mountains and western valleys. A red flag warning means that outdoor burning should be avoided because any fires that develop will spread rapidly, according to the NWS. The high wind warning means winds could knock down trees or power lines, and travel will be difficult for high profile vehicles in wind-prone areas. It’s Monday December 7th. This is San Diego News Matters from KPBS News. I’m Anica Colbert. Stay with me for more of the local news you need. Todd Gloria will be sworn in as Mayor of San Diego on Thursday. This happens just as the city is experiencing another COVID business shutdown. Mayor-elect Todd Gloria told KPBS how he and his administration plan to enforce the public health orders for the city. “While I recognize some people have objections to the public health rules that we are dealing with right now. I’ve always believed that if you don’t like it, then you should change it...but you simply can’t ignore it and that includes our public health order.” Todd Gloria also plans to keep the Convention Center open to house Homeless San Diegons. He says it makes sense to keep using the convention center since it has no other functional purpose during the COVID pandemic. However, money will become an issue. “We can reasonably keep the convention center functioning through the month of January, beyond that we are going to need to ask the council’s consent for additional operation and that really involves finding more money.” Gloria says he continues to hope for additional federal relief. California’s new stay-at-home order would require barber shops, salons and other businesses to close down yet again. The Sacramento area has not yet been put on lockdown, but Capradio’s Chris Nichols has some reactions from barber shops. Mario Cueva is starting to get used to all the shutdowns. The state’s new order could mean West Coast Barbers where he works Woodland … a shop where he works just outside of Sacramento… would have to shut down for the third time this year. 01Cueva: “Usually, they say third time is a charm when they get it done. I don’t know, I guess we’re going to find out.” Even though he’s used to it, Cueva says it won’t be easy. 02Cueva: “Besides the holidays, people still gotta pay their rent. People got car payments, people got kids. You know, it’s hard to do when you ain’t got a job, you ain’t got money coming in.” Governor Gavin Newsom said yesterday that closing salons and barber shops, along with all restaurant dining, is necessary because people are around each other for longer periods of time. Some have pushed back that these types of businesses aren’t high risk for COVID-19 transmission. But with elevated levels of the virus, state health officials say that’s no longer the case. Regardless, West Coast Barbers customer Isaac Salcido says he just hopes the shut down won’t last long. “Hopefully by the time they open back up, I can text my boy Mario and come get fixed up again.” He won’t be the only one. In Sacramento, I’m Chris Nichols The pandemic has seen some many people picking up new outdoor hobbies. The california department of fish and wildlife reports a surge in fishing licenses -- after all, it’s an opportunity to experience the outdoors while being socially distant. Peter tira is a spokesperson for the department. he says they’ve issued almost 1.2 million fishing licenses this year… the most purchased since 2008. “people have time on their hands. these are outdoor opportunities that are safe, that families can participate in together. it's a little mental relief and physical relief from these stressful times.” Tira says a similar jump is also occurring for hunting licenses. There’s nearly a 10 percent increase in those sales this year compared to last. U-S border authorities started a pilot program in January to take D-N-A of certain detainees. In April, Customs and Border Protection was given a 3-year roadmap for expanding the practice nationwide. Now the agency says that expansion will be done by the end of this year. From the Fronteras desk in Phoenix, KJZZ’s Matthew Casey reports. DNA 1 :39 ...SOQ Federal officials say Homeland Security was exempt for nearly a decade from a law requiring D-N-A collection. Then the Justice Department ordered border enforcement agencies to take D-N-A from certain detained noncitizens, all suspected or convicted of crimes, and people facing deportation. Their genetic sequences then get uploaded to an F-B-I archive. Customs and Border Protection is not taking D-N-A from people held at a port of entry while officials decide if they can enter the U-S, so long as they don’t get sent to detention, or face deportation. C-B-P says its collection efforts will be nationwide by December 31st. A San Diego researcher is being honored by having an ice formation in Antarctica named after her. KPBS Environment Reporter Erik Anderson has more. Helen Fricker is a glaciologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has helped pioneer the use of satellite data to track how water moves beneath the Antarctic Ice. Now an ice formation on the continent’s peninsula is named after her. The Fricker Ice Piedmont is an amalgam of ice from several different glaciers and she says on the map it seems small. “If you think about it in terms of the size like a channel island, I think its actually about the size of the whole west end of Catalina from the isthmus to the west, so I think it’s actually pretty substantial. It just that Antarctica is huge.” The honor comes from the United Kingdom Antarctic place names committee which is naming 28 locations in honor of modern explorers. It is the 200th anniversary of discovery of the continent. Erik Anderson KPBS News Coming up ... Amid the pandemic, students are struggling more than ever. And their grades are showing it. For my classes right now, the grades aren’t wonderful… they don’t look great. That story next, just after the break. As end-of-semester grades and test scores start to roll in, it’s becoming clear that the pandemic is taking a serious toll on student performance. KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong explains what educators in San Diego County are doing to address the higher rates of failing grades this year. For my classes right now, the grades aren’t wonderful… they don’t look great. In normal years, Daemein Patterson says he has about 5 or 6 students with D’s and F’s. But this year, among his 37 students at Grossmont High School in El Cajon, 12 students have F’s. He said learning from home has come with obvious challenges. PATTERSON.mp4 00:02:16:13 It’s hard to focus when you’re in your bedroom and its comfortable and you have your bed there and your playstation or whatever.. You’re phone.. But he says that’s only part of the problem. Some of his students have shouldered burdens beyond their schoolwork since the pandemic hit. PATTERSON.mp4 00:02:00:20 Some of them have jobs that they’re working. They are taking care of siblings while their parents are working or going to school.. These issues are not unique to Grossmont High, or even San Diego County. Schools across the country have reported more D’s and F’s since COVID-19 shut down schools. It’s yet another stark reminder of how hard it’s been for educators to hold students accountable while being sensitive to their needs during distance learning. Theresa Kemper is the superintendent of the Grossmont Union High School District. When schools first closed in the spring, the district adopted a no-harm grading policy, and she said some students just stopped trying. KEMPER.mp4 00:04:32:24 So we did want to provide more accountability. Coming into this school year, we said grades are on, you’re starting this year fresh this way, so everything matters, everything counts in the classroom. But when the district saw the uptick in failing grades, principals and counselors ramped up outreach efforts and started a credit recovery program through which students can make up missed work. KEMPER.mp4 00:08:36:01 What units or what assignments did students miss that quarter that maybe after school before school in winter session in december, january they can work with teacher sto make up to go back and fix that grade. At Poway Unified School District, about 7 percent of all grades are Fs this year, which is nearly twice the percentager as last year. David LeMaster is the executive director of learning support services at the district. He says the most effective remedy has been bringing students back to campus, even if it’s just for one or two days a week. LEMASTER.mp4 00:09:35:11 When we see a student struggling, the principal or counselor will reach out and offer them the ability to come in and learn virtually on campus, and that has really helped to re-engage the student into the learning. LeMaster said he’s not too worried about long-term consequences. He’s confident that teachers and counselors will be able to keep students on the right path. LEMASTER.mp4 00:12:50:17 I think we’re early enough in the year where we can catch those students and get them back on track and ready to go so it doesn’t affect the numbers of kids graduating or getting into the colleges that they want to get into. Back in Grossmont, Patterson says this year has proven that there is no real substitute for an in-person classroom. PATTERSON.mp4 00:01:39:02 Students just tend to do better in the environment inside of a classroom where they’re in front of a teacher and they’re held accountable, and they have teachers to check in on them and make sure they’re on task and things like that. That was KPBS Education Reporter Joe Hong. That’s it for the podcast today, thanks for listening and have a great day.