State Clears Way for Full Contact Football; SOS Funds Available; ODOT Work on 101; Case Load Slows; Vaccine Availability; Schools Benefit from Federal Funds

State Clears Way for Full Contact Football

While the path to see students return to full time in class instruction has not yet been cleared another battle for the students may be coming to a close.  The fight to play full contact sports.  The Oregon Health Authority cleared the way yesterday for students to play 11 on 11 football as long as the teams can comply with the COVID-19 safety protocols laid out by their county.  Siuslaw High School Athletic Director Chris Johnson said this was good news, but there are some hurdles to clear before Siuslaw in particular is ready to play.

“We needed to figure out a way to get onsite testing going, Superintendent Grzeskowiak didn’t’ feel like it was going to be a huge hurdle and the school board, at least in what I could gather from their comments were not opposed to going forward.”

Two of the other hurdles, contact tracing and a waiver is something that the school has already addressed.  Johnson says that it is an effort that all schools must undertake in order for the season to move forward in March.  This change does not affect volleyball and basketball for communities in Extreme Risk categories.  Cases of COVID-19 for the county were only 27 cases away from being moved to a “high risk” level in the last update provided by the state.  If cases follow their current trend the county could be moved to a lower risk category in the next two weeks.

SOS Funds Available

Siuslaw Outreach Services has announced that now have funds to help individuals that may be in need of assistance with rent, electric, and water.  The assistance if available for those who have either been affected by COVID-19 directly or who have lost wages due to the pandemic.  Program Manager Tim Weese says there is a qualification process and individuals can contact the agency by phone for an appointment.

ODOT Work on 101

There is work being done by the Oregon Department of Transportation on Highway 101 at the Siltcoos bridge.  Crews are currently removing and replacing the bridge railing and have closed the northbound lane of traffic.  ODOT has put up a temporary traffic light in the area and extreme caution required.  The section of roadway is within a curve on both ends of the work and it comes up suddenly.  There are minimal delays involved with the work.

Case Load Slows

Lane County coronavirus numbers for the day yesterday were at 40 for new cases.  The past several days the totals have been under 50 which is a significant decrease over previous weeks.  The University of Oregon campus continues to be a hot spot for the virus with at least one county commissioner, Jay Bozevich, calling to single out the Campus from the overall numbers.  A move that has sentiment, but is not likely to occur.  Florence saw no increase in the numbers yesterday with the total remaining at 153.  Statewide there were 555 new cases.  According to the OHA numbers are currently down 8% statewide.

Vaccine Availability

The state continues to receive new doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.  There have now been over 821 thousand vials of the vaccine delivered to the state and the total number of doses administered is just over 600 thousand.  The state continues to struggle to meet Governor Brown’s daily total of 12,000 doses administered averaging between 6 and 12 thousand doses administered daily.

State budget deficits have caused gaps in school funding, but the CARES act through Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief has been there to help the Siuslaw School District.  The district has received about 4.2 million dollars over the past year to help fill the gap made by state reductions.  The most recent allocation of nearly 3.5 million is likely to go to some infrastructure upgrades along with covering more anticipated deficits in state funding.