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Free summer meals program extended through December

DAYTON-The Dayton School District announced last week that they were approved for the free breakfast and lunch program through December for any child in the Dayton community 18 years and under. Children attending school will have these meals made available to them before school starts and during their scheduled lunch times. In an email, Jana Eaton Assistant to the Superintendent and Food Service Director indicated other families in the community can pick up breakfast and lunch in the elementary bus area Monday through Friday from 11–11:20 a.m., excluding holidays and no school days. “Students who are enrolled in our distance learning program and/or any other child in the community who is 18 and under can participate in the extended meal program,” said Eaton. Advanced notice is recommended by contacting Jana Eaton at 509-382-2543 or [email protected].

Superintendent Guy Strot presented an overview on how school opening progressing to the Dayton School Board at the meeting on September 2.

Dayton is one of seven schools out of 294 school districts that are open for in person learning, and according to Strot, students surprisingly have little issue with wearing them. Most students wear masks even during time they are not required. He said adults seem to have more difficulty with they do. “The biggest challenge, was children needing reminders to keep the mask up on their noses, but generally kids are doing good,” said Strot.

The school reopened with serving the “grab and go” style meals used during the initial shutdown last spring. But by the second week, hot meals were being served and the staff was able to work out a plan to have all of the elementary students eating in the cafeteria on rotation rather than having them eat in their classrooms as originally planned.

Strot also reported that “specials” in the elementary school began last week, specifically physical education and music classes. “When you walk around, it almost seems normal at this point,” he said of school in general. “It’s day six of school. They’re six feet apart, which is unfortunate. They’re wearing a mask, which is unfortunate. Teachers are up there teaching, and students are in there learning and they are engaged. I’ve had virtually no discipline issues.”

More than ten percent of registered students are enrolled in the district’s distance learning which is about 53 students, according to Strot. The district has also both gained and lost some students.

Distance learning was an important topic for the board meeting where Strot stated he sees some strategies that will be an ongoing benefit for the school. “The end goal here is to make COVID good for us, in that, let’s do some things now that when COVID is a memory, we’re still doing, said Strot.”

The district is accomplishing this by standardizing the use of technology through the storage of information on Google Docs, the use of Google Classroom for families to access and complete their lessons, meeting for class meetings on Google Meet or Zoom, and making video lessons for students to watch later which works for both in-person students and those who are distance learning.

The lessons for distance learning for elementary students are given by the classroom teacher. Middle and High School uses APEX, an online curriculum. Hannelee Farrell and Carly Benavides both facilitate the distance learning and subsidize the lessons, as needed.