Scottsbluff Public Schools staff hand out over 500 meals to area youth

Grace Poor Bear grabs a bag full of food from Victoria Gonzalez, a paraeducator at Roosevelt Elementary, during the morning grab-and-go pickup. District personnel handed out meals to provide students and families with healthy meals during the coronavirus, COVID-19 closure.

With protocols and information changing more by the hour than by the day, officials are working to keep residents up to date with the latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Scottsbluff Interim City Manager Rick Kuckkahn said his staff has been tracking all information coming down from the State of Nebraska and the health department.

“We’re posting a lot of things now on our Scottsbluff Facebook page and on our website, both of those locations we’re posting the same kind of information,” Kuckkahn said. “We’re keeping it factual from the health department, from the federal government, and trying to keep everybody up to speed with the latest factual information.”

The City of Scottsbluff continues to operate under it’s essential services protocol. Non-essential services including the Lied Scottsbluff Library, parks and recreation services, compost facility and recycling have been suspended until further notice. Utility payments can be made online at scottsbluff.org, and utility service beginning or ending should be conducted by contacting Chris Burbach at cburbach@scottsbluff.org or at 308-630-6212 or Liz Hilyard at ehilyard@scottsbluff.org or 308-633-3796. Sanitation, police and fire are still operating.

“Our police department and fire departments are both the spearhead of our efforts, and they’re well prepared,” Kuckkahn said. “They have equipment and the training that they obviously need, not only from the past but here currently there have been some protocol things that we’re implementing to make sure that the personnel are safe as they’re going out on calls as well as the people that they’re serving.”

Essential water services are being provided through the utility billing contacts as well.

“We’re still doing (water) connections, but we’re taking some extra precautions when we go to a household,” Kuckkahn said. “Masks, gloves, questions about the health of the people that are living there. Those kind of things are happening. We’re just stepping up our precautions a bit where it comes to our essential services.”

Kuckkahn said all the measures and precautions are done out of caution and trying to stay ahead of the virus.

“We’re encouraging people to adhere to that ‘no more than 10 people gathering in a location,’” he said. “Especially our seniors and some of the more exposed in our community are encouraged to just hunker down for a while her until things start to subside. It’s not going in that direction, or it doesn’t look like it’s going in that direction now. There seems to be a growth in the cases, so we’re going to continue this way of doing business for the next couple of weeks at least, and then reassess at that time. ... We’re hoping for the best. We’re prepared for the worst if it becomes a more serious situation.”

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Reporter

Mark McCarthy is a reporter with the Star-Herald and oversees the Gering Courier as editor. He can be reached at 308-632-9049 or via email at mark.mccarthy@starherald.com.

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