KWSO News for Tue., Nov. 17, 2020

In a letter to Jefferson Country 509J families yesterday (11/16/20), superintendent Ken Parshall shared that the school district will not be able to return to school for in-person instruction on November 30th, as planned,  and that Comprehensive Distance Learning will continue with limited In-Person instruction will take place for small groups of students.  In order for schools to be able to return to an in-person model there needs to be a 2 week county-wide count for COVID-19 cases of less that 30. Additionally the County Positivity Rate needs to be less than 5%.  (

Starting tomorrow, November 18 – December 2, 2020 Oregon will be in a statewide Two-Week Freeze to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Oregon.   These risk reduction measures are critical in limiting the spread of COVID-19, reducing risk in communities more vulnerable to serious illness and death, and helping conserve hospital capacity so that all Oregonians can continue to have access to quality care.

Everyone should limit social gatherings to no more than 6 people total, from no more than 2 households – indoor and outdoor.  There will be no Indoor visitation in long-term care facilities.  Working from home and closing offices to the public is being encouraged.  Restaurants are delivery and take-out only.

The Museum at Warm Springs will be closed to the public for that two week period in accordance with the Governor’s recent directive to slow the spread of COVID-19.

A rural Oregon county is turning to tiny, shiny, sun-powered trailers to fill gaps in broadband internet coverage.  Sherman County has worked for years to upgrade its internet towers. But county Judge Joe Dabulskis says the coronavirus pandemic laid bare a problem plaguing rural areas statewide. “There’s places that just can’t get internet like everybody else.”  Many homes in north-central Oregon are tucked between hills to stay out of the wind. Those hills also block internet signals from the county’s fixed towers.  Sherman County secured CARES Act funding this summer to purchase four solar-powered trailers. It worked with Bend-based Sage Technologies to position them where they can catch an internet signal and beam it down to houses.  The county is prioritizing this service for students, teachers and health care professionals.

Warm Springs Telecommunications is using CARES Act funding to improve and expand internet connectivity here on the Warm Springs Reservation.  CARES Act funding needs to be spent before the end of the year so work is underway now.