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College declares emergency over virus

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The Clatsop Community College board declared an emergency situation at the college due to the coronavirus.

The declaration gives Chris Breitmeyer, the college president, more flexibility when it comes to responding to an ever-evolving situation, the board said Friday afternoon. Breitmeyer will now be able to make a variety of decisions without first needing to obtain formal board approval.

Community college

Clatsop Community College declared an emergency over the coronavirus.

Following a decision by Gov. Kate Brown to extend a statewide K-12 school closure through April over concerns about the coronavirus, college administrators announced Wednesday that the campus would close to the public and all classes would move online.

Nursing, emergency medical technician and medical assistant classes will remain face to face, however, to address anticipated workforce needs in those fields.

Breitmeyer expects to use his flexibility under the emergency declaration to make some funding decisions — signing off on certain grants, for example — and to reassign some college employees. While some employees are able to work from home, others have jobs that would not translate off campus or to online classrooms.

“Rather than lay those folks off, we know there are things that need to be done at the college,” Breitmeyer told the board.

Robert Duehmig, the board chairman, said the board has faith in Breitmeyer.

“I think our primary goal is to make sure we can offer everything we need to, to our students,” he said.

The college is still solidifying how it will offer online coursework to students.

Breitmeyer said Friday that enrollment is holding steady for now but could drop. He expects they will lose some students in career technical education courses since those courses may be more difficult to offer or replicate in an online format. The college is looking at possibly delaying the timeline on those classes.

Katie Frankowicz is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact her at 971-704-1723 or

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There is no reason at this time to think that any animals, including pets, in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in the United States.

Pets have other types of coronaviruses that can make them sick, like canine and feline coronaviruses. These other coronaviruses cannot infect people and are not related to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

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