by Ben Adlin
At locations across South Seattle and much of the rest of the state this summer, schools and community groups will provide free lunches for young people regardless of their ability to pay. Some sites will offer lunches on all weekdays, while others will have seven-day meal packs available for pickup on a weekly basis.
Lunches will be available to anyone 18 and under, whether or not they’re enrolled at that school. Parents and guardians may also pick up meals on behalf of their children.
The service is part of an expanded federal program that typically provides lunches only in areas where more than half of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. During the pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) opened eligibility to all areas.
“USDA has said anybody can operate a summer site. You don’t have to qualify with this 50% or more needy children,” said Leanne Eko, director of child nutrition services at the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), which oversees the program in the state.
Continue reading Free Lunches for Youth All Summer Long at Schools and Community Centers
by Andrew Engelson
Nearly one year after the first outbreak of COVID-19 in King County and the nation, public health officials and King County Executive Dow Constantine say they are cautiously optimistic about the spread of the virus. Effective prevention measures combined with slow but steadily increasing vaccinations have the potential to “put the pandemic in the rear view mirror,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Duchin in an online press briefing on Friday. But concerns remain, including the discovery of two new SARS-CoV-2 strains in the county, and pressure among those tiring of restrictions to let up on prevention strategies such as masking and limits on gatherings.In addition, inequitable access to vaccines remains a concern.
Continue reading One Year After First COVID-19 Outbreak, County Health Officials Cautiously Optimistic
by Ari Robin McKenna
A few weeks ago, many members of the tight-knit staff of Campbell Hill Elementary School convened online. They felt that their community didn’t have enough information to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to send their kids back into school buildings as part of Renton School District’s (RSD) phased return to hybrid learning beginning March 3. Decisions about when and how to return to classroom instruction are especially charged in the Skyway neighborhood, where Campbell Hill is located. It is both historically underinvested in and also has higher rates of COVID-19 infections than more affluent areas of King County. The potential of another COVID-19 spike and the resulting community death toll weigh heavily on the district’s decision to return, as do concerns about upended classes and the “learning drift” of breaking away from the virtual educational experience some teachers have worked so hard to provide.
Continue reading After Learning Details, Families Turn Away From In-Person Learning at Skyway School
by Andrew Engelson
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Dec. 23, a fire broke out in the Greentree Apartments in Skyway. Though firefighters from King County Fire District 20 (KCFD20), as well as units from Renton Regional Fire Authority, Tukwila Fire Department, and other units from across the region fought the three-alarm fire, the massive blaze left most of the apartment building damaged. Thankfully there were no fatalities, though KCFD20 reported that one resident was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Continue reading Skyway Community Rallies to Help Families Left Without Homes After Greentree Apartment Fire