From the beginning of the pandemic lockdown a month ago, schools have served as important hubs for local families. The Rondout Valley School District is no exception. We heard last week from Robert McDonough, president of the Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers and School-Related Professionals, who filled us in on what the district’s teachers have been doing to help out.
Feeding children out of each school building with the school lunch program.
“We provide kids in the community with two days’ worth of lunch and breakfast,” said McDonough. “Many kids in our district don’t eat well at home when school isn’t in session and they rely on us for their meals. We have been handing out the food at the buildings. The cafeteria staff prepares the food and we deliver it. Our teachers, secretaries, and paraprofessionals have volunteered countless hours since the start of the pandemic.”
Volunteering at the Rondout Valley Food Pantry in Stone Ridge
Volunteers from the school have unloaded and delivered around 7,000 pounds of food a week since school closed; that’s about 35,000 pounds total so far.
Making face shields
The district has been using its 3D printers, first acquired in 2015 through a grant, and old teacher overhead transparencies to make face shields for local hospitals and emergency workers. “We have made and delivered hundreds of them,” said McDonough. “In fact, we have partnered with SUNY New Paltz and IBM and we are now getting permanent shields to fit our headband that can be wiped down and sanitized between patients.”
High school math teacher Lisa Magrin has made over 100 cloth surgical masks at home and delivered them to local hospitals.