Update from Superintendent Greene

Monday, March 31, 2020

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Yakima School District Community,

Schools are often the glue of a community. The sudden closing of our school district disrupted stability that we know is valued in Yakima. As a daily part of students' lives, schools provide a hot meal, positive social interaction, and a place to feel safe - all of which was suddenly snatched away because of the coronavirus pandemic.

During this global emergency, many of our fellow citizens, including parents of our students, have lost jobs and income. Some now worry about food and shelter. Others may need childcare, as many parents are essential workers in this time of crisis. Thankfully, during this era of stress and instability, the Yakima School District (YSD) embraced change and quickly altered its operational model to support the Yakima community beyond the walls of the schoolhouse.

Within a day of closing, the YSD had 24 food distribution sites operational, thereby assuring breakfast and lunch for students. (We have since condensed to 8 locations.) To date, 138,106 meals were distributed with another 192,000 meals planned for distribution this coming Friday, April 3. We thank the numerous district personnel who have shouldered the load and assured that the nutritional needs of our students continue to be a priority in this time of extreme difficulty.

This last week, extensive coordination took place to build a community childcare program from the ground up. On Monday, March 30, the YSD will begin operating a childcare facility for children (age five to 12) of first responders and health care professionals. Over 20 children enrolled for the first day, and we plan to expand the service as demand grows. The YSD is proud to be one of the only school districts to offer child care to those who are courageously working to save the lives of county residents.

The Yakima School began the successful distribution of laptops to students over this past weekend. The first recipients were seniors (12th-grade students), but plans are underway to extend computer access to those in other grade-levels who do not have access to one at home. Additionally, the District is now supporting two-way communication through the Remind App to encourage direct two-way teacher-parent/family communication and get you the information you need.

Under state direction during this uncharted transition in education, academic services for all students across Washington was to begin by Monday, March 30. At YSD, through the work of our Teaching & Learning Department, student-learning resources were available Friday, March 13. In addition, many staff members were already engaging with students in a non-coordinated basis. YSD educators are excited to reach out (virtually) in this new era of education, so expect increased contact with teachers and learning support staff.

Thank you for your support, flexibility, and patience during this incredible time in the history of our country. We appreciate the resiliency and compassion demonstrated during the last few weeks and are confident that the empathy and concern for others will continue. Please know we have committed to support the Yakima community and look forward to providing continued academic services and opportunities for students.

Trevor Greene