Schools Work to Keep Students Safe
School systems around the state are battling several fronts against the COVID-19 pandemic, on one hand there are parents that are fighting against the use of masks on their children and on the other hand there is still not a vaccine for younger children. The latter could change as Pfizer is now looking for approval for its vaccine for children ages 5 and up. Currently the vaccine is approved for 16 and older and 12-15 for emergency use. Vaccination rates for eligible students, under the age of 18, is just 64% in Lane County. Siuslaw School superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak says the high school is currently receiving vaccination status from parents on a volunteer basis. The information according to Grzeskowiak is to assist the school in determining the proper procedures when an exposure is reported. A student that properly wears a mask during the school day that is in contact with a person who is later determined to have the virus is not considered exposed and not required to quarantine. Grzeskowiak says knowing the vaccination status of a student helps with seating proximity and helps to keep more students health and in class. He also says that vaccination status is considered to be confidential.
New COVID-19 Cases
It was a one day lull in reporting for the Florence area as COVID-19 cases grew by 6 in yesterday’s report from Lane County public Health. 630 is the all time total of cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Lane County total numbers for yesterday were 143 while the Oregon Health Authority reported 2,312. There were also 26 more deaths reported yesterday. According to the OHA, cases are on the decline overall in the state. In a weekly update reported yesterday there was a 10% decrease in cases. It was the second week of declining numbers, however, the death toll is rising there were 148 deaths last week compared to 120 the week before. The Delta Variant of the coronavirus is still the dominant strain in Oregon.
Congestion continues to be a problem for travelers headed southbound on highway 101. Delays of up to 20 minutes have snarled traffic along the southbound lane beginning at the Siuslaw River Bridge back to the intersection of 101 and highway 126. ODOT crews continue to progress on getting equipment set up on the bridge for surface refinishing. ODOT officials say the entire project will take until the end of October to complete. Traffic is down to one lane during daylight hours and delays are to be expected.
Lane County has announced an upcoming road closure. A section of North Fork Road between milepost 13 and 15.6 will be closed to install a large culvert. Traffic will be affected between Monday, September 27th through Wednesday September 29th. The road will be closed from 7am to 5 pm. Access through the area can be made through Highway 126 west of the closure and highway 36 on the east side of the closure.