Curry Public Library welcomed 45 Central Curry School District students on Monday, Sept. 14 to a space volunteers and staff created over the weekend to provide support for students navigating online curriculum. The COVID-ready space was buzzing on the first day as staff spent the morning helping students orient to the space and COVID-19 protocols, get logged in to their classes, and get used to online learning.
The program, dubbed the HIVE (Hybrid In-Person and Virtual Education) program, will provide a safe learning space at the library for 45 children in grades 3 through 12 without internet access and/or at-home care during the period of online education. CCSD is working on a plan to support K-2 grade students onsite at Riley Creek School.
The HIVE program at the library will follow the school’s virtual learning schedule and provide supervision, meals, and computers to students in small groups, while maintaining COVID-19 distance and cleaning protocols. The daily management of the program is executed by ASCEND program director, Karlie Wright, who has been working on a tight timeline to make preparations. Wright will oversee five part-time staff, each coming to the program with extensive experience working with students.
In mid-August, Central Curry School District (CCSD), like so many districts across the state and nation, made the decision to adopt a distance learning plan for the start of the 2020-21 school year. Until at least November, the only option for students in CCSD will be distance learning. This presents an enormous challenge for many families who rely on the schools for child care, meals, access to broadband internet, and more.
During the summer, staff from Curry Public Library’s ASCEND after school program realized the seriousness of the problem families would be facing during the upcoming school year. “Parents were struggling with the need to keep their jobs and the need to make sure that their children were cared for during the day,” said ASCEND program director Karlie Wright.
Library staff began speaking with families, teachers, school district officials, and local and state partners to come up with possible solutions to the problem. The result of those conversations is a collaboration between Central Curry School District, Curry Public Library, and the Friends of Curry Public Library to provide a distance learning support program.
Emergency funding for the program is being provided by one generous donor from the Friends of Curry Public Library, the Gold Beach Rotary Foundation, the Curry Health Foundation, and Advanced Health. The Library is in ongoing conversations with additional funders to make sure the program can operate until the end of the first school semester if necessary. A grant from Southwest Oregon Children’s Foundation has awarded funds to expand the high-speed network of Curry Public Library. The expansion of the area covered by the network will allow more students to access the bandwidth needed to complete their online school requirements, while still maintaining social distancing protocols for public safety.
“While the library is not happy about the circumstances necessitating this program, I am thrilled with our community’s willingness to support our youth and families, and I am proud of our staff’s collective willingness to innovate during this health crisis,” said Library Director Jeremy Skinner.
The program is currently full due to size limitations of the space. To get on the waiting list, contact Riley Creek School at 541-247-6604.