County, school officials discussing reopening plan


OREGON – The Ogle County’s Health Department is working with area school administrators on plans to open schools to students this year, the head of the department told the Ogle County board at its July 21 meeting.

Kyle Auman told board members that his department is working with administrators to make sure students, faculty and staff are as safe as possible during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The upcoming school year will not look like school years past,” he said.

He said they have heard from many parents who do not want to send their kids back to school, adding that masks, social distancing and a lot of hand washing “are a must” to keep everyone safe.

Auman said the county is now averaging about three new cases of COVID-19 a day. He said areas of concern continue to be daycares and long-term care facilities.

“We’ve had several issues with daycare facilities,” he said.

He said overall, his department has tested 13 percent of the county’s population. There are currently 356 positive cases, but only one person is hospitalized with the virus. Auman said 300 people have recovered, and a total of five people have died of COVID-19 in the county.

“We’ve been working diligently to respond to the various needs of Ogle County,” he said.

In response to a question from the board, Auman did remind everyone that the county does have a mandatory mask rule, and that the county does investigate when it receives tips that worked at area businesses – like bars and restaurants – are not wearing masks and following safety protocols.

“I have nothing but respect for you and your staff for what you’ve done through this whole thing,” said County Board Chairman John Finfrock.

In other action:

The County Board approved special use conditions for solar farms in the county by a 20-4 vote.

The board basically approved the same ordinance that it had considered in January 2019, with some changes, including to the noise ordinance.