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Recent school closure shifts district focus to meals

At this writing Washington County Schools will have been closed five days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We will be closed through the end of our regular spring break and are scheduled to reopen on April 6th, but that date could change.  Between now and then we will be in regular communication with the Northeast Region Health Office and the Washington County Health Department.   Washington County Schools will reopen only when health officials assure us it is safe to do so.

By necessity we have had to swiftly change our focus.  Our primary goal right now is to continue meal services to all children in our community that need them.  We have prep kitchens at Daniel Boone High School, Boones Creek Elementary School, David Crockett High School and Jonesborough Middle School.  These schools will serve as distribution sites.  We have added distribution sites at South Central Elementary School, West View Elementary School, Sulphur Springs Elementary School and Fall Branch Elementary School.  All these sites are on a specific schedule; please watch our website, www.wcde.org, to see that schedule and for other details.  Also, be advised that the schedule may change as we expand services to meet demand.  

We realize that some households may not have transportation to a distribution site.  The State has granted us a legal waiver that will enable us to take meals to children at their homes.  Any family that needs this service need only call 753-1100 to sign up.  We’ll deliver meals in a big yellow school bus.  Children shouldn’t be surprised if their teacher or their principal is riding the bus!

Our second focus is on keeping children engaged during the school closure.  Our classroom teachers are still working every day, uploading activities to our websites and interacting through learning management portals.  This is new to us, so we’re still developing our procedures.  A lot of fee based services are suddenly being made available to us at no charge, so that will be coming online to students very soon.  I think our students are going to be amazed at what our teachers can do for them, even though they can’t be together at school.  I hope every family will set aside ‘school time’ every day.  

We are aware that not every family has reliable internet service.  For students in those households, our instructional coaches have prepared learning packets appropriate to elementary grade levels.  These packets are available at our central office.  We can have them available at one of the meal distribution sites, or we can even deliver them to private homes.  Just like meals, the family need only call 753-1100 to make arrangements.  

If families need to reach out to me directly, my email address is [email protected]