With Governor Inslee’s mandatory, state-wide school closure order to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Skamania School closed its doors to the public. But this has not stopped staff from teaching, students from learning or families from receiving supports from our school during these unprecedented times.

The Skamania School staff continues to work tirelessly to educate and offer assistance to our students and families:

  • Staff have been addressing technology needs from day one. Students in grades 2-8 had Chromebooks prior to the closure and these devices have been distributed to those who did not have a computer at home. For our few families with no internet or internet access issues, staff have become creative in their support: providing phone calls, printed packets of learning materials and flash drives with electronic learning materials.
  • Free grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches for children under 18 years of age began the second day of the closure. The hard-working meal service team tracks requests and prepares meals for approximately 60 students each day, distributes them via pick-up or delivery on bus routes and also regularly include special treats or encouraging notes to inspire our students.
    • Free meals will continue Monday-Thursday through the end of the school year.
    • Thursday’s food includes meals for Friday as well.
  • Distance learning began when report cards, learning plans and home learning packets were mailed home to each student on March 25. This learning has grown to include a variety of alternative learning methods: supplemental printed and online learning resources for families, weekly lesson plans posted on each teacher’s website, virtual learning using Google Classroom, paper packets delivered with meals and weekly online lessons with our teachers.
    • Over a third of our students get additional services from our special education staff over the phone or through distance learning models. This includes one-on-one instruction services, reading, counseling, occupational and physical therapy and speech or language support.
    • When teachers are not instructing or directly supporting students, they are learning themselves through professional development courses or technology trainings. In addition, all teachers join Superintendent Dr. Ralph Pruitt virtually for the “Reimagining Learning” course offered by the Association of Education Service Districts to continue to shape Skamania’s distance learning model.
  • Care for school-age children of healthcare workers and essential employees is offered weekdays with our Reading Corp service provider.

These times are challenging for everyone, and we appreciate your patience and flexibility as we have all learned new things the last six weeks. Even Dr. Pruitt is learning new skills as he creates and edits a weekly video message to send to his staff and students! Skamania School staff will continue to educate and support students and their families as we move forward into the rest of our school year. This has been a challenging time for us all, but families can continue to count on Skamania School.

This article was published in the Skamania County Pioneer on May 6, 2020.