Students and Parents Congregate At Siuslaw School District Office; School Board Meeting; COVID-19 Cases; Winter Music Festival; Chamber Seminar

Students and Parents Congregate At Siuslaw School District Office

Dozens of parents and students lined Oak Street yesterday near the district offices of the Siuslaw School District to protest several issues that were addressed in last night’s special meeting of the Siuslaw School Board.  The group held signs asking the board to vote no on additional mask restrictions and for closing the campus at lunch.  Junior student athlete Ian Sissel believed that it was time to let the board know how important these times are for youth.

“When it comes to closing down the campus for lunch it takes away from the high school experience and the responsibility we’ve been given as growing up.”

Sissel also said that he believes additional masking for student athletes would be detrimental and that the restrictions in place are already tough enough.  A certain group of parents and students have felt like their voices were not being heard and decided a louder voice was needed.

School Board Meeting

Last night’s Siuslaw School Board meeting dealt with several issues including moving the bell schedule to help teachers prepare better for classes amidst the ongoing pandemic where the student population is in constant flux.  The measure was unanimously approved before moving on to two of the more controversial issues.  The first was the consideration of taking away off campus privileges for lunch.  Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak said the numbers had not materialized that he had feared could occur and did not believe that there was reason to make a decision on it at the time.  The board tabled the motion meaning it could come up in the future with the support of at least two board members.  The discussion moved to the masking of active athletes which began with a lot of Technical discussion.  But ultimately that motion was denied.

COVID-19 Cases

Florence has surpassed the 1,200 mark for all time COVID-19 cases with 10 more added to the list yesterday bringing the total to 1,206.  There are several cases over the past several days related directly to Siuslaw Schools, but the problem is spread throughout the community.  Lane County added 692 cases with the state adding more than 8,000.  Oregon also reported that it has surpassed the 6,000 mark in deaths.

Winter Music Festival

Tomorrow evening the Florence Events Center comes back to life with one of the most significant events since the beginning of the pandemic.  The popular Winter Music Festival wil begin at 5 pm with a performance by True North, a mix of Folk and Bluegrass then the group Growling Old Men will play their duo style of traditional and original bluegrass songs, ballads and tunes.  The  Appalachian Road show will hit the Stage at 8:30.  This 5 piece bluegrass band from the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia bring the sounds of the Appalachian mountains to the west coast.

Saturday’s performances include music by the Popular duo Pretty Gritty, Mary Flower and a second helping of Growling Old men.  In the evening True North will take the stage again before headliner Karla Bonoff.

Chamber Seminar

Florence Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bettina Hannigan is promoting the Turning Anxiety Into Peace seminar on Tuesday February 9th.  The event is sponsored by PeaceHealth.  Renowned speaker Cortney McDermott will be the guest for a 20 minute TED type talk with a 40 minute Q&A afterwards.  Hannigan says this will be a zoom/zoom virtual meeting.

“We’ve got a lot of communities here in Florence that don’t have the zoom/zoom capability maybe they don’t have a computer, maybe they don’t know how to log in, maybe they don’t know what to do so we are really encouraging watch parties.”

The event will give tips on mind and body wellness through a very difficult period for many individuals.  The cost is 10 dollars for chamber members and $25 for the general public.