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KCBX News Update: Central Coast ocean advisory, Cal Poly mask requirement and in-person inmate education

SLO County's water quality website has an interactive map where residents can check local water quality.
SLO County's water quality website has an interactive map where residents can check local water quality.

Central Coast rainstorm leads to ocean advisory

The rain storm on the Central Coast has led the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department to advise residents and visitors to avoid ocean water for at least three more days.

Significant rainstorms can transport certain organisms like bacteria and protozoa into the ocean at high levels. That can be dangerous for anyone who comes into contact with ocean water, but especially for young children, older people and those with compromised immune systems.

The risk of developing skin, respiratory or intestinal problems from ocean contact is especially high near runoff outlets like creeks, rivers and storm drains.

In SLO County, the health department’s water quality website is SurfSafeSLO.org.

Cal Poly drops mask requirement, will lift it for PAC starting Friday

Students at Cal Poly returned to a campus today where masks are no longer required.

The start of the spring quarter was also the first day where students can go maskless in most situations, including classrooms. There are still some places where they are mandatory, like in the campus health center and the Mustang Shuttle.

The university cited its high vaccination rate among students, faculty and staff and low number of COVID-19 cases as the reason for dropping the requirement.

Cal Poly’s coronavirus dashboard says that 94.8% of students are fully vaccinated while that number sits at 91.3% for faculty and staff. Those who are not vaccinated are tested regularly.

The university’s Performing Arts Center will mostly drop its mask requirement starting this Friday, though some events may still require them. Their website is pacslo.org.

Santa Barbara County inmates resume in-person educational classes

Inmates in Santa Barbara County corrections facilities resumed in-person education today after a long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sheriff’s Office called it a collaborative effort between Inmates Services staff, Santa Barbara City College and Allan Hancock College.

Sheriff Bill Brown called inmate education “one of the most effective forms of crime prevention" that "breaks down racial and ethnic barriers and improves relationships.”

Inmates can take classes including in areas such as GED study, personal development and food handling.

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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