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Schools extend meal distribution into May

Schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, but distribution of free breakfasts and lunches will continue as long as necessary as the pandemic continues, local officials say.

Originally, meals were scheduled to stop April 14, when school normally begins spring break.

However, the county health department recommended schools stay closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 year, and Wasco schools will do so. At this time, there is some question as to whether schools will reopen normally on the fall schedule.

Since the quarantine has been extended through the end of the school year, Kelly Richers, superintendent of the Wasco Union Elementary School District stated that the district is coordinating meals access. Monday through Thursday, they distribute lunch and the next day’s breakfast. Two meals are provided on Thursday to cover Friday.

“We are serving at Burke and Forrest, and the high school is serving at their main campus,” Richers said. “We were having some problems with people going to more than one site and getting multiple lunches, so we cut the locations and time down to three total locations and less time to discourage that.”

Those three locations are Teresa Burke Elementary, James Forrest Elementary and Wasco High School.

Lunches are served from 10:30 a.m to noon.

“We have been doing well, all things considered,” said Martin Lonza, principal of Wasco Independent High School. “The switch to distance learning has had its challenges, but I trust that our students will progress through this time and move forward in their lives.”

Lonza also said the change was not too drastic for students in the Independent Study Program, as they were already completing their schoolwork at home. “For our other students, we have adapted their instruction to more closely match the independent study model,” he said. “We have assigned work and are actively collecting finished assignments.”

Lonza added that the district has made it a top priority to establish communication channels with students through means such as emails, phone calls, texts, the school webpage, Instagram, Facebook, the Remind app and traditional mailings.

“Our communication log shows us in two-way communication with approximately 75 percent of our students,” Lonza said. “Our adult education program also has adopted the requirements of distance learning. It continues to help students who were previously enrolled progress with their education.”

Lonza added that the district is tracking all students with an emphasis on those expected to graduate. “It is our intent to do everything possible to see these seniors graduate.”

The district still plans to have a graduation ceremony, but is unsure when it will be or exactly what it will look like.

“If any students or parents have not yet been able to contact us, please visit our web page to email staff and view our other links,” Lonza said.


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