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A sign posted outside a classroom at Joseph Lane Middle School in January reminds students to wear a mask.

A letter signed by 12 school district superintendents in Douglas County urged parents to follow the vaccine and mask safety measures ordered by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and set aside personal beliefs on the issue for the good of students.

“We know that having students back in the classroom benefits families, students and staff,” the letter said. “In order to safely open our schools this fall and keep them open, we need your help. Please follow the indoor school mask mandate if your child will be returning to the classroom.”

The letter was dated Friday and signed by Roseburg Public Schools Superintendent Jared Cordon, Don Wonsley (Camas Valley), Dave Gianotti (Riddle), Steve Woods (Days Creek), Andy Boe (Elkton), Kate McLaughlin (South Umpqua), David Hanson (Glendale), Brian Berry (Yoncalla), Mike Narkiewicz (Glide), Jody Cyr (North Douglas), Patti Lovemark (Oakland) and Michael Lasher, superintendent of the Douglas Education Service District.

It does not include the names of Sutherlin School Superintendent Terry Prestianni and Winston-Dillard School superintendent Kevin Miller, both who have opposed the executive order announced by Gov. Brown on Thursday, July 29. The rule, instituted after a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases across Oregon, mandates that all students in grades K-12 are required to wear masks indoors this fall, regardless of vaccination status. On Thursday, Aug. 19, Gov. Brown announced that Oregon was expanding its COVID-19 vaccine requirement to include all teachers, educators, support staff and volunteers in K-12 schools.

The vaccine and mask mandates announced by Gov. Brown sparked intense division from parents and school officials, not only in Douglas County but throughout Oregon. The Winston-Dillard School District passed a resolution of support during its Wednesday, Aug. 11, meeting, for residents who believe Oregon’s school mask mandate is over-reaching and that decision should be made at a local level.

The joint letter recognizes the division caused by state-ordered health measures but says following the requirements is necessary for in-person learning to take place and minimize disruption for students and families.

“We know that having students back in the classroom benefits families, students and staff. In order to safely open our schools this fall and keep them open, we need your help. Please follow the indoor school mask mandate if your child will be returning to the classroom,” the letter said.

The letter includes a link for people wishing to advocate change in the current requirements and leave feedback directly for Gov. Brown.

Plans to welcome back students to in-person learning will require a community wide effort, the letter said.

“Our top priority remains the health and safety of our students, staff members and community as we plan to welcome children to full-time in-person learning this fall. This will require community-wide efforts due to the sharp increases in Covid cases in our area that have once again caused disruption and have now overburdened our hospitals,” the letter said.

Prestianni and Miller have condemned the mandates, saying that local school districts should decide for themselves. In a Facebook post on Thursday, Aug. 19, Miller reaffirmed the district’s stance that the statewide mandates will have a significant negative impact at the local level. With “no viable options at this point,” Miller said the district will begin working with employee unions to implement the vaccine mandate for teachers and staff and encourage parents to prepare their students for wearing masks at school.

Mike Henneke can be reached at mhenneke@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4208.

Follow him on Twitter @ihenpecked.

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(42) comments


The meaning of freedom has become warped by those who oppose a simple precaution of school children wearing a mask yet allow almost anyone to buy a gun. To them, personal freedom means taking no responsibility. Yet, to be truly free is to learn to be responsible for knowing the truth, even if it's sometimes painful. It means being responsible for the health and safety of others, even if it's sometimes inconvenient. America's children shouldn't be held hostage to a partisan political brawl. It's time we focused solely on their learning and their safety.






Maybe people should start looking at doctors who are solving issues with Covid and who are very good at their practices.



Yeah, except for Johnson's teeny little problem with the Texas Medical Board calling his allergy treatment nonsensical: https://quackwatch.org/cases/board/med/johnson/complaint/


That’s the best you got. You only want to see the liberal things that democrats are doing. Great job on your President Biden with his pullout of the war. Democrats will soon not be able to walk down the street with their genius ideas and mandates.




Good job Winston and Sutherlin. About time someone stands up for a persons choice and not bow down to tyrant Kate. Local choices should be given to every district as to what is best for their schools and not some idiots at ODE and the Governors office. So many people that don’t have a clue on these posts are just simply drinking the Kool Aid. If you are vaxed and wearing masks good for you, you are safe and stop trying to worry about me or others.




It appears as though Ms. Prestianni and Mr. Miller are more interested in politics than in the safety of the students in their districts. Or perhaps they'd just like to reduce the number of students in future generations with no thought to their selfishness.


Here is more about that (briefly unmasked) teacher who infected her kids, and about projected infections if we don't mask in schools:



"Drop the Mandets!"


--is right up there with "Morans."


In other institutional news:

Springfield long-term care outbreak infects 64, kills 5; began with unvaccinated employee

By Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick

A COVID-19 outbreak in a Springfield assisted living facility, Gateway Living, has infected 64 people and killed five so far, Lane County Public Health told The Register-Guard Friday afternoon.




The DPHN identified the vaccination status of 22 Douglas County residents who died. 8 were fully vaccinated. 1 was vaccinated with at least one dose. 13 were unvaccinated. 13/20 x 100 = 59.1% unvaccinated. 40.9% were vaccinated.

The average age of the 9 vaccinated deaths is 76.8 years. The average age of the 13 unvaccinated deaths is 65.9 years.

Depending on the day and the DPHN report you read, approximately 85% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. Considering a much lower percentage of unvaccinated are dying, it appears older people are in Covid's cross hairs whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Bottom line, this is not yet enough data to draw profound conclusions one way or the other. But take heart, there are bound to be another 20 or 30 deaths shortly.


Congratulations to the 12 Douglas County school officials who do understand that this pandemic is not political. It is a life-threatening scourge. Anytime a nation looses over 600,000 lives in 18 months (approx) to what could have been a controllable infection at this point, we must ask ourselves “am I part of the problem or part of the solution?” You don’t have to share your decision to be vaccinated with your anti-vax associates. Truth be known, many have obtained the vaccine and won’t admit it.

Willie Stroker

There are currently 89 people in the hospital with COVID-19.  8 of which are fully vaccinated. That tells us that 91% are unvaccinated and 9% are fully vaccinated.

According to Douglas County press releases on Covid-19 there have been 13 unvaccinated deaths and 7 fully vaccinated deaths since August 17th.

That means that almost 54% (53.8%) of the COVID-19 deaths in Douglas County since August 17th were fully vaccinated.

If we take the total deaths and divide by our hospitalizations we can get the percentage chance that a person in the hospital will die.

13/81x100 = 16% of unvaccinated people in the hospital died.

7/8x100 = 87% of fully vaccinated people in the hospital died.

That means that people who are fully vaccinated are 5.4x more likely to die in the hospital then those who aren't vaccinated.

If I miss calculated something please correct me! I've attached my sources below so you can double check (I'm talking to you Mike).


Before you delete my comment @NRToday I request a reason as to why my comment goes against your guidelines!

Your guidelines state: "Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything" and by using official data I am not breaking that! Thanks...



County COVID-19 Press Releases:







Willie Stroker

Nice rebuttal....


Willie, your numbers are correct, but you have left out important info that puts those numbers into context.

Dr. Rickman from Mercy has said that the fully vaccinated patients in the hospital are immuno-compromised. Dr. Dannenhoffer from DPHN has said the vaccinated people who are dying are immuno-compromised.

That means they have serious pre-existing conditions such as great old age, undergoing chemo for cancer, taking anti-rejection drugs for organ transplant or taking immune-suppressing drugs for serious autoimmune disorders.

Their immune systems have already been seriously battered by their disorders. Their bodies don't form great antibodies in response to the vaccine. That makes them extremely vulnerable to covid.

The CDC is now recommending they get a third dose of vaccine in order to create more antibodies. Everyone around them needs to be vaccinated in order to form a fortress of protection from infection.

The immuno-compromised represent a small subset of vaccinated people, but they form the major set of fully-vaccinated patients who are hospitalized or who die.

Your calculations are accurate when you look at only the numbers. But unless you also look at the precarious health of the hospitalized vaccinated patients you will be painting an inaccurate picture about the chances of vaccinated people dying.

Dr. Dannenhoffer speaks about the perils of the immuno-compromised regularly on his Tuesday 6:00 pm Facebook live sessions. He treats children with organ transplants and he's quite knowledgeable on the special risks such patients face.

Willie Stroker

Do you find it strange that 100% of fully vaccinated deaths were because they were "immunocompromised" but 0% of non-vaccinated deaths were because they were immunocompromised? That seems strange too me. Like what are the chances?


Willie, my impression is that you're really trying to figure this out rather than just rattle the pots and pans.

We don't actually know if zero percent of the unvaccinated who died were immuno-compromised. That info hasn't been made public as far as I know.

The messaging so far has been: The vaccinated people who are dying of covid have been old and/or sick with conditions that compromised their immune systems. If you're not suffering from one of those serious conditions, there's a darn good chance vaccination will keep you out of the hospital and keep you alive. So get vaccinated.

I understand your confusion. About a million years ago in school i learned how to compare similar and dissimilar groups and pairs. I can't even remember the proper lingo for doing those kinds of studies. But I remember enough to know that it is NOT odd that immuno-compromised vaccinated people are not faring well if they get sick enough to end up in the hospital.

I'm not immuno-compromised and I'm vaccinated. I wear masks when I go out in public, socially distance, and I'm avoiding social get-togethers and travel. I'm not lonely or scared. I just like staying alive in good health.

If you're not vaccinated, Willie, I hope you'll get the shot ASAP. There really is no mystery about why some vaccinated people are having a hard time -- they're really old or have a serious pre-existing condition that's battered their immune system.

Get vaccinated. Stay alive. Then come back to rattle the pots and pans.

Willie Stroker

@mworgen I simply want the facts. I have asked this question to DPHN and Dr. Dannenhoffer but they deleted my comment instead of debunking it. At least you had the balls to respond to me. For that I thank you!


Oops. Your numbers are not correct. 13 unvaccinated deaths + 7 vaccinated = 20 deaths. 7 out of 20 deaths does not equal 54%. Off the top of my head it looks more like 35%.

Willie Stroker

You are correct, my bad. I will update my records. However that doesn't effect the deaths / hospitalizations of fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.


Thanks John.


Willie, among your errors, one that has not yet been pointed out is that you appear to be using, in one miscalculation, the (number of people who have already died since Aug 17)/(number of people who are *currently* in hospital), which, honestly, shows you nothing, and especially shows you nothing about "the percentage chance that a person in the hospital will die."

Willie Stroker

It shows you that despite only making up 8% of hospitalizations they accounted for 54% of the deaths as non-vaccinated people. Given the hospitalization rate then for every 11-12 non-vaccinated deaths there should only be 1 fully vaccinated death, not 7....

Comment deleted.
Scott Mendelson

Alexander Pope wrote, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." That makes you, Mr. "Stroker" an extremely dangerous man.

Comment deleted.


You quote somebody named John Parker's facebook post without either of you stating the source for your information. Is John Parker some sort of medical expert? Are YOU John Parker?

How about another spot-on medical quote from John Parker's Facebook: "Last local report I heard was Wednesday, when 1240 KQEN reported 4 of 6 or 4 of 7 Douglas county resident deaths were Vaccinated ..The 54% was a report from another radio show and was not a local number/percentage"

There it is. We now have something to hang our hats on.

Comment deleted.

90% of covid patients at Mercy are NOT vaccinated.

"The Douglas County COVID-19 Recovery Team reported 144 new positive and presumptive cases of the coronavirus Thursday and 195 Friday. Of the 89 hospitalized, 81 reportedly have not been vaccinated."


Oregon Counties Join Rush for COVID Morgue Trucks as Delta Variant Rages.



The Oregon Health Authority published its COVID-19 Pediatric Report (below link) today that indicates Douglas County’s case rate of 720 per 100,000 children under 18 is currently the SECOND HIGHEST CASE RATE IN OREGON over the week of August 15, the last week data was collected. Only Curry County with 802 has a higher case rate than Douglas County



Mother and Daughter, Both Unvaccinated School Workers, Die of COVID.



I don't understand Superintendent's "urging" schools to require masks dor students and staff. Why not make it mandatory! If parents don't cooperate they can home school their kids.




Kudos to the 12 school superintendents. Fevered raspberries and virally-loaded Bronx cheers to the other two.


During the PAST WEEK, nine babies, toddlers or preschoolers were hospitalized in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority, plus one child aged 6 to 11 and one child aged 12 to 17.

Because OHSU is overwhelmed, it decided to admit 18- to 25-year-old patients needing critical care services to the pediatric intensive care unit at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital which now, "puts our children’s hospital at risk of not being able to care for Oregon’s sickest children,”



Acording to Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar, a professor at the Mayo Clinic, you know your community is in crisis when local hospitals rent coolers for morgue space.

Earlier this week, Douglas County Commissioners secured additional coolers for morgue space.



Unvaccinated, unmasked elementary school teacher infects 22 students and four parents with COVID-19.



People who are infected with the highly contagious Delta variant are twice as likely to be hospitalized as those who are infected with the Alpha variant, according to a large new British study.


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