Cambodia reopens schools after virus shutdown

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Schools in Cambodia opened on Monday for the first time since March, but class sizes and hours were limited as a coronavirus precaution.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said schools might have to be reclosed if any students become infected while attending classes. He said students and teachers must observe safety measures because the virus is still raging in Europe and the United States and a vaccine is not yet available.

Some schools in the capital, Phnom Penh, and parts of eastern Cambodia opened last month in a trial phase, and Hang Chuon Naron said the good results prompted the nationwide reopenings.

“As the government has controlled the COVID situation very well, we have seen that in Cambodia the number of cases has not increased, and especially the border control is every effective,” he told reporters at a school in Phnom Penh.

“We have two objectives — number one is safety for our students, our teachers, as well as the community, and number two is to continue education for everyone,” he said.

Cambodia has reported 292 coronavirus cases with no deaths. The Health Ministry on Monday reported one new case, a Cambodian returning from abroad.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India has added 45,230 new coronavirus infections, continuing a downturn. The Health Ministry also Monday reported 496 more fatalities, raising the death toll to 122,607. With 8.2 million cases, India is the second worst-hit country behind the U.S. But the number of new cases being diagnosed each day is falling steadily even though testing is not declining. In the last week, there have been fewer than 50,000 new cases every day. Many states have been easing restrictions on schooling and commercial activities to spur the economy, but experts fear a resurgence in the winter, particularly as people socialize in the festive season.


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Assumption School Reopens On-Site Kindergarten In San Leandro

SAN LEANDRO, CA — Assumption School in San Leandro reopened Monday for in-person learning for its transitional-kindergarten and kindergarten classes in a hybrid format for half-day classes.

Parents wishing to keep their children enrolled in distance-learning still have that option, school officials said.

Assumption is taking a “measured approach” to its return to in-person teaching and will phase in the return of first- through fifth-grades over the next few months, officials said.

Assumption’s reopening for TK and K students follows Alameda County hitting the state’s Orange Tier category, which allows elementary schools to hold in-class instruction providing COVID-19 health plans are in place and submitted to Alameda County’s Office of Education and Public Health Department.

Assumption’s reopening plan covers procedures for physical distancing, routine testing of staff, daily cleaning and disinfecting of learning spaces and increased ventilation, Principal Lana Rocheford said. The reopening is another step in supporting students in this “new normal,” with staggered attendance and the boost in digital-education, along with a maintenance routine of health and safety practices to help prevent coronavirus spread.

“Whether before the pandemic or now, and whether we are distance-learning or in-person, it has always been about how we can create a place where students will feel safe, nurtured, respected and treasured,” Rocheford said.

The parent of one kindergartner said her son is thrilled to return to the classroom.

“It has been a balancing act trying to manage work and both of my sons’ distance learning, all while trying to keep my family safe and healthy during this pandemic,” said Erica Marr. “We are thankful that Israel can return back to the classroom and experience kindergarten in-person this school year. The school has worked hard to get to this point.”

This article originally appeared on the San Leandro Patch

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Simi Valley YMCA Fitness Center Reopens

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

Simi Valley Family YMCA Fitness Center
Simi Valley Family YMCA Fitness Center

After being closed for seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Simi Valley Family YMCA fitness center is now open.

During the closure, the YMCA underwent significant renovations. The facility has new locker rooms, a new multipurpose room, new flooring, paint and energy-efficient lighting.

To ensure a safe environment, exercise equipment are positioned at least 12 feet apart. Fitness attendants clean equipment and frequently-touched surfaces. They mark freshly cleaned equipment as available for use.

To monitor the number of people in the fitness center (limited to no more than 10 percent capacity), reservations are required. Reservations are available for 55-minute time slots on the hour.

“We’re excited to have the fitness center open again,” says Ronnie Stone, President/CEO of the Southeast Ventura County YMCA. “We’re careful to follow all the guidelines set by Ventura County health officials. We’re asking that those who use the facility to be courteous and mindful of others, keep your distance and if you’re not feeling well, please stay home.”

Center hours are currently Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (closed Saturday and Sunday).

The pool and showers remain closed, but will reopen when Ventura County moves into the Orange Tier category.

The Simi Valley Family YMCA is at 3200 Cochran Street. For more information and to make fitness center reservations, call 805-583-5338 or go to

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Hope Center Houston in Spring partially reopens their doors for homeless clients

While Hope Center Houston has not been able to meet face-to-face with clients since COVID-19 precautions became the norm in March, the building is partially reopening to let clients take showers and do laundry.

Hope Center Houston, located in the Spring area, offers resources for people who are homeless. The faith-based nonprofit reopened their doors to one client at a time on Oct. 5, allowing non-staff into the building for the first time in months.

Bob Butler, executive director of Hope Center Houston, said the center never stopped serving clients, still providing meals and other products for visitors. The center has installed physical plexiglass barriers and now requires everyone to wear a mask.

“Ever since the COVID thing we’ve been providing hot meals, hygiene kits and clothing out of the front door,” Butler said. “We’ve served close to 4,000 meals now for the last six months and hundreds of hygiene kits and clothing.”

The staff is now smaller, with some people coming in more often, Butler said.

“Frankly, all of our volunteers are not comfortable yet coming back so we’re dealing with a smaller crew that’s coming in more frequently … to make sure that our needs are covered and we respect the rights of those who are a little bit more reserved and don’t want to be in the public yet,” Butler said.

Butler said case workers have been working nonstop on housing assessments, psych referrals and addiction help virtually and over the phone, if possible, as well as in-person. The chance for clients to take showers, do laundry and take clothing is a strong part of the partial reopening, Butler said.

“Everything else is continued with our case workers and our chaplain and people are making appointments and coming in one at a time,” Butler said. They come in, get the service and leave rather than hang out and spend the day with us. Unfortunately, a lot of what we do is really relational and we miss that.”

Usually when clients would come into Hope Center Houston, they would spend time with the staff or at one of the many activities going on such as prayer groups, meditation, life skill classes and help with job interviews as well as meals. Hope Center Houston has seen less clients in-person since the pandemic began. Clients used to be able to browse the internet or use the onsite library, none of which are currently available.

“I think to come for a hot meal or some hygiene without the relationship part doesn’t have the same value to them as being able to come and spend some good time with some good people,” Butler said. “Our numbers have decreased because I think they see the values of the service as decreased … These things are all going on simultaneously and they choose what it is

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