School News

AHAS in the News

AHAS in the News

Vancouver Voice: Volume 3, Issue 12, May 7, 2009; page 9.


Cheers: To Washington State University Vancouver professor Susan Finley and her advanced-degree students who run the At Home At School program. The Columbian: July 21, 2007;  Page C6, Article ID: MERLIN_1805054.


Summer School and so much more. The Columbian: July 16, 2007; Page A1, Article ID: MERLIN_1793497.


Popsicle stick bridges make for sweet project. The Columbian: August 1, 2006; Page A1, Article ID: 2006213005.


Slow Foods nourishes At Home At School kids


CAMEO foundation donates $26,000 to WSU program


Grants aimed at three obesity-fighting efforts


School News

Eastern Washington colleges begin crackdown on submission of student, staff vaccine statuses

SPOKANE — With Eastern Washington University’s fall quarter set to start Wednesday, college officials are hoping for a big push in the coming days to collect the campus community’s COVID-19 vaccination information.

The university’s requirement extends to students, faculty and staff who are not fully online or remote. Wednesday was the deadline for students to upload proof of vaccination or request a medical or religious exemption. Students who fail to do so could face a $250 fine.

EWU students are moving onto campus Thursday and Friday. And while the vaccination deadline has come , university officials knew the days from move-in to the start of the fall quarter would be key, given how students aren’t normally focused on deadlines during summer break, said university spokesman Dave Meany.

Given that outlook, the university has not yet tabulated the latest attestation data. Last month, approximately 1,700 students of the roughly 9,000 estimated to attend classes on campus had submitted their information.

Statewide, higher education employees are required to either be fully vaccinated or to have submitted the appropriate medical or religious exemption forms by Oct. 18. To meet that deadline, if they haven’t already received their first shot, staffers covered by the mandate would have to get the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Oct. 4.

Other area colleges and universities have varied rates when it comes to how many students have reported their vaccine status.

Washington State University’s deadline for students to submit proof of COVID-19 vaccination, proof of initiation of vaccination or to request a religious or medical exemption was last Friday.

As of Thursday, 83 percent of WSU Pullman students have complied with the vaccine requirement, up from 62.2 percent in late August. Of those students, 94 percent have submitted proof of vaccination, while the remainder have sought medical or religious exemptions.

Not counted in the compliant total are the number of students who have yet to change over from their request for a personal exemption. WSU is no longer accepting the personal exemption after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval the Pfizer vaccine. Students who previously sought one have until Oct. 18 to submit the appropriate proof of vaccination or a request for a different exemption.

Specific numbers for those students were not available upon request Thursday.

Students who fail to submit their information could face a registration hold for the spring semester.

WSU spokesman Phil Weiler said employees have embarked on a “pester and annoy campaign” to bring students into compliance, starting with emails and text messages. The next step is phone calls, he said.

“Before we sort of drop the hammer and say we’re putting a hold on your academic account, we want to give people plenty of opportunity to understand what the requirements are,” Weiler said. “When we sent out our first text, we got 1,200 vaccination records submitted immediately afterwards.”

When WSU Spokane reported only a 9 percent compliance rate last month, Weiler attributed that to technological issues, saying it took several months for the university’s vendor to install the appropriate systems for campuses other than Pullman. Pullman also is the only WSU campus to provide health care services on campus.

That number for the Spokane campus has since increased to 63 percent. Of those who have turned in their information, 96 percent have submitted proof of vaccination, the highest percentage of any WSU campus, Weiler said.

“Given the fact that all of the other campuses are in the 60-66 percent range, that to me seems to indicate that it’s a matter of not having the same amount of time to upload their records and learning a new system,” he said. “There’s a learning process, and I think sometimes people put off something that they haven’t done before.”

Elsewhere in Spokane, Gonzaga University has reported an approximately 91 percent overall campus vaccination rate to date.

That includes 5,810 of 6,192 students (93.8 percent) who are fully vaccinated, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, with another 2 percent in the process and 4 percent seeking exemptions. Approximately 88 percent (1,493 of 1,695) of Gonzaga’s employees are fully vaccinated; 6 percent have sought an exemption, according to the data.

“We are overwhelmed by our students’ commitment to come back to campus vaccinated,” Charlita Shelton, chief of staff to President Thayne McCulloh and Gonzaga’s COVID-19 compliance officer, said in an email.

At Whitworth University, 1,917 of 2,304 (83.2 percent) matriculated day students have attested they are fully vaccinated. Another 299 (approximately 12.8 percent) have sought exemptions. The remaining 88 are noncompliant.

Students who have not complied with the school’s vaccine requirement cannot attend in-person classes, said Randy Michaelis, dean of continuing studies and graduate admissions. Michaelis, who has led Whitworth’s COVID-19 Response Team, said the President’s Cabinet made the decision around mid-August.

“We’re small enough where we can do this, and the number of students who are noncompliant are small enough so that we can individually reach out to them,” Michaelis said.

With enforcement, the Community Colleges of Spokane have taken an approach similar to WSU’s, requiring students to attest to their vaccination status in order to register for winter quarter classes, while employees are also bound to the state’s Oct. 18 deadline.

“We will support our employees’ individual decisions and help them implement that decision consistent with the proclamation,” Greg Stevens, CCS chief strategy officer, said in a statement, referring to the state mandate. “That could include separation of employment after October 18th, if they have chosen that option. We value every employee of CCS and hope that will not be necessary.”

As of Wednesday, CCS had verified the attestation status for 974 out of 1,940 active employees (50.2 percent), including work-study students and volunteers, according to data provided by CCS. Of the 940, 115 have sought exemptions.

Meanwhile, 1,893 out of 6,524 enrolled Spokane Community College students (29 percent) have attested; 18 percent have submitted vaccination information, while 11 percent are seeking an exemption. At Spokane Falls Community College, 1,287 out of 3,747 enrolled students (34.3 percent) have attested, including 24 percent who have received at least one dose of the vaccine to date.

“We anticipate the number of students who complete the attestation to rise dramatically when classes begin on Monday,” said SCC President Kevin Brockbank.

School News

Vancouver Eagle Scout, 14, first female to earn rank in region

Josephine Abbott was once on the outside looking in as part of a Vancouver family deeply involved in the Boy Scouts of America.

That all changed in 2019 when the organization opened its program to girls, allowing Josephine to follow in her father’s footsteps and work toward becoming an Eagle Scout.

Now 14, Josephine is the first female to earn the rank of Eagle Scout in Southwest Washington.

She received the award in a recent Court of Honor at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site along with seven young men: Aidan Bloom, Ryan Bloom, Zachary Bloom, Davin Carsten, Riley Caton, David McKellar and Douglas Wilson Jr.

Tracy Fortmann, superintendent of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, noted that only about 4 percent of Scouts reach Eagle.

“The Eagle Scout rank is the highest rank in Scouts and represents a long-term commitment that challenges the Scout physically, mentally and morally,” Fortmann said.

In order to earn the Eagle rank, Scouts must earn 21 merit badges, 13 of them skill-based, complete a community service project, be active for at least six months as a Life Scout, the previous rank in Scouting, and complete a board of review.

For the required community service project, Josephine built a buddy bench for her classmates at St Joseph Catholic School. She said she drew inspiration from previous experiences — she had to transfer schools after being bullied but has had a much better experience at her new one.

“I wanted to give back to my new school because they were such a big support when I transferred,” she said. “I didn’t want kids to feel left out and alone as I’d felt at my old school.”

Family tradition

Josephine’s mother, father and siblings all participate in Scouts. Her father, Steve Abbott, is an Eagle Scout as well as cubmaster and committee chair for Cub Scout Pack 370.

Her mother, Helene Abbott, is on the committee for Cub Scout Pack 370, Boy Scout Troop 479, and Boy Scout Troop 5479.

“I was always wanting to participate in the activities and meetings, but I was never able to because I was a girl and girls weren’t even allowed in Cub Scouts at the time,” Josephine said.

Josephine says when she learned that girls would be able to join Scouting, she and her family celebrated.

“I was shocked when I found out,” she said.

Helene Abbott said she had wanted to be an Eagle Scout when she was young, but was blocked by the rules at that time. Watching her daughter achieve it was a little bittersweet.

“It’s a life accomplishment, that she managed to do at 14,” she said.

School News

Clark County food experts say: Think outside the lunch box

Let’s admit it: The pandemic made us forget how to pack a lunch. Now that school and work are in person, we’re digging for container tops and trying to figure out what to put in all those little plastic boxes.

For some guidance, I talked with local food experts seeking tips on how to efficiently put together a delicious lunch every day for office workers and school kids.

Prep, prep, prep

Planning a bit and prepping for the week goes a long way.

“Prep, prep, prep,” said Tara Archer of Boards + Bubbles. In addition to her charcuterie picnic business, Archer is a nutrition coach. She firmly believes that once-a-week food preparation makes it easy to pack healthy, delicious lunches every day.

Prep doesn’t have to be extensive or overly time consuming. Cut up some fruit and vegetables then decide on a protein or several proteins for the week.

“Because I own a chili parlor, I’m a fan of slow cooking,” said chef Derek Saner of Slow Fox Chili Parlor. “Chili, stew and pork shoulder can last for the week. Get that done and then choose the mood you’re in to pack your lunch.”

Archer recommends some other proteins. She likes to make chicken meatballs or pack pre-cooked turkey, chicken or beef sausage. Vegans and vegetarians can make a large pot of beans or chickpeas for the week. She also likes to make big batches of sauces and dressings ahead of time and then put them in small containers for easy packing during the week.

Chef Miguel Sosa, owner of Elements Restaurant, notes that homemade always tastes better than store-bought. Instead of buying pre-made fruit cups with syrup, he recommends putting fresh fruit in mason jars then filling them with simple syrup and a bit of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Sturdier fruit like stone fruit, apples or pears can be poached in the syrup before placed in jars. Fresh summer berries are best placed in the jar cold and then covered with syrup.

Lunch for kids

Judiaann Woo has worked in the food industry for 20 years. She’s also a mother of two school-aged children. She’s developed an efficient lunch-packing system to get lunch in bags every morning while minimizing waste.

“School lunch is all about what the kids want to eat,” she said.

Kids don’t have a lot of time to eat lunch at school, yet they need a nutrient-rich meal to get them through the day. Woo believes in packing familiar foods that kids enjoy so they will eat enough during their short lunch break.

The first step is to talk to your children and find out what they want to eat. Then go to the grocery store and stock up on lunch items for the week. Cut up fresh vegetables and fruit and put them in small containers. Then pick a type of sandwich or main dish for the week. Place all lunch items in the same part of the refrigerator so they can easily be grabbed and packed in the morning.

“A lot of kids want the same thing every day so just go with it. What is the harm? It’s a win-win for everyone,” Woo said.

Woo also has some advice on how to keep food fresh from the morning until lunch. She places cut fruit like apples cut-side down in a container so air doesn’t turn it brown or cuts an apple into slices then puts it back together with a rubber band. Both methods keep air from getting in and prevent browning. Sandwiches are wrapped in wax paper and placed in sealed containers to stay fresh.

A small treat rounds out the lunches Woo packs for her children. She bakes and freezes zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, cookies and other sweet treats then packs a small piece for lunch every day.

She’s also taught her children not to throw anything out at school. Leftover parts of lunch make a great after-school snack. In addition, Woo likes to survey what gets left in the lunch box to see if her children didn’t like that particular item or if the portions were too big.

Lunch for adults

Woo believes adults should also pack food that they like and not things that they think they should be eating for lunch.

“Think outside of the lunch box,” said Woo. “If you don’t like sandwiches, you don’t have to eat a sandwich. Also, the salads people pack for lunch are never very exciting. They may make a nice salad for dinner, but their lunch salads are sad.”

The easiest way to make lunch is to make extra portions of food for dinner and then pack leftovers for lunch the next day. Saner recommends stews and braises for a filling lunch. These foods can be packed in a microwave-proof container and reheated for lunch or packed hot in a thermos.

Keri Buhman of C’est La Vie offers another easy option.

“Pack an adult Lunchables with crackers, cheese, grapes, nuts and cured meats,” Buhman said. “You can eat fast or slow at your desk over time.”

She likes to add grapes instead of apples because apples tend to get brown. This combination of food provides a nice protein rush without being heavy. A piece of dark chocolate rounds out this on-the-go charcuterie board.

Buhman recently added something new to the refrigerated section of her shop: portable salads in long plastic containers called salad shakers. They’re essentially an upside-down salad with dressing and heartier things on the bottom and lettuce and other tender vegetables on top. This method allows things like chickpeas and bits of cooked chicken to marinate in the dressing. When you’re ready to eat, dump the whole thing in a bowl.

Buhman has offered an Italian stack salad shaker with red wine vinegar, salami and provolone on the bottom, topped with lettuce. She’s also made a Thai salad with dressing and chicken and peppers on the bottom. She recommends making vinaigrette in a blender ahead of time so it won’t separate.

Saner’s wife, Nicole Saner, likes to pack a portable version of noodle soup. To prepare this soup on the go, place pre-cooked noodles, vegetables and protein in a Mason jar. Keep broth in a separate container. The broth can be reheated or kept hot in a thermos. When you’re ready to eat, pour the broth into the jar with the other ingredients. This method works well for a variety of noodle soups like ramen, pho or old fashioned chicken noodle soup with thick egg noodles, bits of carrots and celery, and a sprig of fresh dill.

During his early years in Chicago, Sosa worked at a restaurant that made lunches for nearby businesses. He discovered that a sandwich tastes better if it isn’t assembled until it’s ready to eat. He recommends packing a sandwich kit by separating condiments and vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes from the bread and protein to avoid sogginess. Assembling everything when you’re ready to eat results in a fresher-tasting sandwich.

If all else fails, there’s a place in every office that’s usually empty — the freezer.

“Stockpile things you like to eat,” Woo said.

She noted that frozen meal options have improved over the years. There are a lot of great things you can store in the freezer and reheat for lunch, she said.

The secret to packing a good lunch isn’t really a secret. Do some prep and pack food that you’ll be happy to see when you open your lunch box.

Remember, nobody is handing out awards or promotions at your office for toting around an oversized sad salad and listlessly poking it with a fork at your desk. The best lunch is always the one that you thoroughly enjoyed eating.

School News

Clark County school district dashboards detail virus outbreak, cases

School districts across Clark County have gotten more transparent about COVID-19 cases in the school system as the coronavirus impacts a third consecutive school year.

How so? In the form of dashboards, a one-stop-shop for anyone to monitor positive cases reported by staff and families of students districtwide.

With the delta variant spreading in high numbers within the community, some schools are already reporting positive cases in the midst of the third week of school for most Southwest Washington districts. That’s why districts say it’s important to have a public health communication tool readily available for the community.

“We aren’t hiding anything from our families and staff, and we want them to know they can find the information in one spot,” Vancouver Public Schools spokeswoman Pat Nuzzo said. The district’s communications team is in charge of updating information weekly.

But information — and choosing to provide that information — varies by districts. Battle Ground, Camas, Hockinson, Vancouver and Washougal have information readily available on their district webpages. Evergreen, the county’s largest district, launched its own dashboard last week.

Districts across Washington are required by law to report all cases of COVID-19 and outbreaks in schools to local public health departments and cooperate with public health authorities during investigations of cases and outbreaks associated with a school.

Last school year, Clark County Public Health posted school outbreaks reported by districts. That’s been discontinued, said Public Health communications specialist Marissa Armstrong, and Public Health is directing folks to each district’s individual dashboards. She added Public Health will continue to work with districts when they have cases and outbreaks.

All districts have COVID-19 health and safety pages, including explainers on COVID signs and symptoms, school or district mitigation strategies and updated health guidance from state or local health officials. It’s not required for districts to create COVID dashboards; however, those that do are curated and updated by district staff. That’s in addition to phone calls and/or notification letters and emails sent out identifying a COVID case in schools and close contacts.

Dashboard display and information can vary. In Camas, it lists total cases between staff and students, staff and students by each school, and total outbreaks.  Evergreen’s dashboard that launched last week initially only included postings of notification letters sent out to staff and families of affected schools. It recently added weekly cumulative totals of positive cases by school, but doesn’t specify whether they’re staff or student cases.

Evergreen did not have a dashboard last school year. District spokeswoman Gail Spolar said the district looked at other districts’ dashboards when deciding to create its own, and believes posting notification letters in real-time is the most accurate way to convey what’s happening in schools.

“By posting those, then we’re posting the same information we’re giving to families almost at the very same time,” Spolar said. Evergreen reported 27 COVID cases across 16 schools the week of Sept. 6-12.

Vancouver Public Schools updates its COVID numbers weekly and posts notification letters sent to staff and families to individual school pages. Last week, it reported 13 students and three staff across 12 campuses had positive tests, but zero transmission occurred on school grounds. To date, there’s 33 total cases — all with zero school transmission — since Aug. 4.

Ridgefield does not provide a dashboard, but new this fall are licensed practical nurses at each of its schools. Nurses work with the district’s health and wellness coordinator on COVID-19 communications with families and staff, according to the district. And because the district already directly notifies families and staff of case counts or close contacts, numbers aren’t displayed on district pages, said district spokesman Joe Vajgrt.

School News

Anti-mask protesters return to outside Skyview High School

Protesters again brought signs, flags and megaphones to the sidewalks outside of Skyview High School on Friday, this time rallying against a court-ordered injunction prohibiting demonstrations that “disrupt educational services” within one mile of Vancouver Public Schools buildings.

About three dozen people came out to the high school as students were released from classes for the weekend. The group held signs and expressed opposition to school mask mandates and called the injunction unconstitutional.

Clark County Superior Court Judge Suzan Clark granted the school district’s petition for an injunction Tuesday. Protesters said they planned to take their rally to the judge’s house later Friday afternoon, and her address was circulated on social media.

The district sought the injunction after Skyview and neighboring Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary School were placed under lockdown Sept. 3 when about 12 protesters attempted to enter the high school.

Some driving by the high school Friday shouted or honked at the rally — some disagreeing, some supporting.

One father in line to pick up his kids, who are a freshman and a senior, began yelling at the group to leave.

“Go to the school board if you want to make a difference,” Nick Sparks told the group through his rolled-down car window.

The group approached his car and told him they were there to fight for people’s rights and “peacefully resist.”

Sparks later said he agrees everyone has the right to peacefully protest but that blocking traffic and disrupting the school day was not the way to do it.

Protester Jacob Beaird returned to Skyview on Friday to oppose the injunction he believes is unconstitutional.

“I think it’s absurd,” Beaird said.

He had protested masks in schools earlier in the week and said he has a child who will soon start attending school in the district.

A few people brought signs supporting the district and masks in schools.

The district sent out a message to parents with students at Skyview, Alki and Chinook on Friday letting them know the district was aware of the planned protests.

“Safety is a top priority for our students and staff members,” the message stated.

Vancouver Public Schools spokeswoman Pat Nuzzo said the district had been in touch with law enforcement Friday and had increased district security staff. About six school resource officers with security vehicles kept watch over the groups. A Clark County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle was also seen in the area.

The protests against masks in schools began Sept. 2 in support of Skyview student Melanie Gabriel, who is seeking a medical exemption to attend school without a mask. Gabriel attended the protest Friday but declined to comment.


School News

Washougal School District forecasts that enrollment will increase

CAMAS — The Washougal School District is projecting an enrollment of 2,992 students for the upcoming school year, 214 more than it had at the end the 2020-21 school year.

District financial manager Kris Grindy revealed the projection as part of a presentation on the district’s 2021-22 budget, which was subsequently adopted by the Washougal School Board, during an Aug. 24 meeting.

“As we reopen this fall for five-days-per-week in-person (learning), we have a number of families who have re-enrolled, and we are hoping that trend continues so we can continue to serve students and their families,” said Les Brown, the district’s director of communication and technology.

The $52 million budget includes investments in accelerated programming, modern curriculums, career and technical education, fine arts, the district’s one-to-one technology initiative, staff development, facility maintenance, enhanced summer learning opportunities, outreach to Spanish-speaking families, free Advanced Placement and SAT exams for all students, and free meals for students.

“We have figured out how to make sure that we’re not skipping out on student achievement, (become) fiscally resilient and resolve those issues that have been present to keep moving forward with an eye on the prize that all of our children are going to rise,” Superintendent Mary Templeton said during the Aug. 24 meeting. “We feel pretty solid about where we’ve been and where we’re headed.”

The district hopes that some of those programs can re-attract some of the learners it lost in the past two years. The district concluded the 2020-21 school year with 2,778 students, a decrease of about 250 from the 2019-20 school year.

“We are optimistic that our district’s resources and investments in student programs will have a positive impact on enrollment,” Grindy said. “Enrollment (projection data) has a four-year trend that includes birth rate analysis which will be reviewed over time. But the trend does not consider the Washougal School District’s ability to re-attract students that are currently opting out of our district for other opportunities like home-schooling or transferring into other districts.”

The district is budgeting for 175 teachers, down from 180 in 2020-21, and 157 full-time equivalent classified staff members, up from the 146 in 2020-21, adding employees for its dual language, transitional kindergarten and Washougal Learning Academy programs, as well as health room aides to support its COVID-19 protocols.

Grindy said that the district “will achieve budget stabilization and become fiscally resilient” during the next four years by “adjusting the budget plan to current funding models and anticipating enrollment trends.” She noted that the district is anticipating a larger incoming kindergarten class for this school year, “which will impact our K-3 funding over the next four years.”

School News

Judge bans protests within mile of Vancouver Public Schools sites

A Clark County Superior Court judge granted an injunction Tuesday prohibiting protests, rallies or other demonstrations that “disrupt educational services” within one mile of Vancouver schools.

The decision followed a lockdown at three schools Friday after some anti-mask protesters tried to enter Skyview High School.

Judge Suzan Clark issued the injunction, which remains in effect until the statewide mask mandate in schools ends, according to a press release.

“Our district understands and supports free speech and the right for people to be involved in peaceful protests,” Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Snell said. “However, our first priority is to ensure student and staff safety and an educational environment free of disruption. This responsibility prompted us to present our concerns to the court.”

Groups protested school mask mandates Thursday and Friday before about 12 protesters approached the high school’s entrance, according to the school district. Skyview and neighboring Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary School went into lockdown for about an hour that morning.

Counter-demonstrators, mostly students, held signs in support of the schools and masks Tuesday and Wednesday. Some students described hearing chanting last week from inside classrooms and being called names as they walked past protesters to leave school.

Snell said that the district has increased the number of school resource officers at Skyview, and resource officers could be seen outside of the high school as students were released for the day Tuesday.

School News

Skyview students, parents ready to counter anti-mask protesters

Skyview High School students, parents and staff demonstrated Tuesday in support of school leadership and against anti-mask protesters who prompted a lockdown on Friday.

About a dozen students took up signs after school let out, ready to oppose protesters, including right-wing groups such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, who had lined the sidewalks in front of the high school last week.

Although those protesters did not return to the high school Tuesday, the students and parents said they plan to be back today or any other day the protesters return.

Some students described the fear they felt during the lockdown when, according to Vancouver Public Schools, about 12 people attempted to enter the high school Friday. Several said they felt school leadership made the right call to lock the doors and temporarily ban visitors.

“The first priority is to keep the kids safe,” Skyview junior Clara Hawkins said. “Even though it might have been scary, it was definitely the right decision. And for people claiming to be protecting children — that was the exact opposite. They were trying to get into our school. They were harassing us, and it was unbelievable the things they were saying.”

Vancouver Public Schools Superintendant Jeff Snell said the district was focused on the safety of students and staff when school officials decided to lock down the high school and neighboring Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary School. He said the district has a strict protocol for people coming onto campuses, especially during COVID-19.

“Lockdowns are disruptive,” Snell said. “And we can’t have those disruptions. It’s been two years of disruptions.”

Snell said he works every day to manage the effects of the pandemic and those upset by the measures to keep COVID-19 from spreading in schools.

“I don’t think anyone wants to be in this situation, but we are in this situation,” he said. “And the students are watching us.”

Support for Skyview

Students described being harassed by the protesters Friday. Some said they were called racial or gay slurs as they were walking home from school. Snell said he had been told some students shouted at protesters, as well.

“We try to minimize those interactions and follow up on concerns or threats,” he said.

Hawkins said she could hear people shouting from the street while in class last week.

“It’s really been affecting the mental health and the morale of the school,” Hawkins said.

Some parents arrived at the school at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday and spent the day on the corner with signs reading, “Leave the kids alone” and “Support Skyview.” They said they came out to express support for the school and oppose any harassment of students.

Skyview junior Hanuri Kim said she wants her fellow students to feel safe at school, especially people of color, because protesters last week were using white supremacist symbols. She said she thinks Friday’s lockdown was the right call.

“I realize that people could have mixed opinions because it did cause a lot of panic and a lot of disruption in our school,” Kim said. “But at the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Snell said more school resource officers have been assigned to Skyview to keep watch outside of the school while staff focuses on teaching students. Officials have also monitored social media chatter about protests.

Student Amaya Yoshinobu said it’s unfair that last week’s protesters made many students feel unsafe at school when there are online alternatives for students who can’t wear masks or oppose them.

Student Ariel Tanner said she texted friends to take up signs Tuesday afternoon to show Skyview’s values.

“A part of Skyview is leadership and positivity,” Tanner said.

A few teachers joined the students Tuesday, including an English teacher who said she wanted to show that threatening messages are not welcome at Skyview.

“What’s not debatable is people feeling safe and respected on the school campus,” she said.

Senior Dylan Walker has opposed the protesters each day since Thursday. He said he was doing it alone at first, but that it’s less nerve-wracking now that others have joined him.

“This is our school,” Walker said. “This is our turf. This is my education.”


School News

Vancouver Mall donation program to benefit 7 schools

VAN MALL — Vancouver Mall has launched its annual My School Rewards program, with plans to donate $11,300 to seven local schools. Mall patrons can submit their receipts to earn between $500 and $3,000 for a local school between now and April 30, 2022.

This year’s beneficiaries are Burnt Bridge Creek Elementary, Cornerstone Christian Academy, Covington Middle School, Endeavor Elementary, Our Lady Lourdes Catholic School, Silver Star Elementary and York Elementary.

Since the program started in 2016, Vancouver Mall has contributed $72,300 to local schools.

To submit shopping receipts, visit

School News

Skyview, Alki, Chinook schools locked down due to protesters

Skyview High School, Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary School were placed on lockdown Friday when people protesting Washington’s mask mandate in schools tried to get inside the high school, according to Vancouver Public Schools.

Students and staff were placed on lockdown around 11:15 a.m. for about an hour, according to district spokeswoman Pat Nuzzo, when about 12 people approached Skyview’s entrance.  School security and administrators kept the people out of the building, Nuzzo said.

The district sent an email to families with students at any of the three schools stating that normal operations continued throughout the day. Once the lockdown was lifted, students followed a modified schedule, Nuzzo said. Typically, locking down a school means that visitors are restricted but classes continue as normal.

According to posts on social media, Joey Gibson and other members of right-wing groups, such as Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys, were at the rally. This was the second day protesters gathered outside of the high school.

Administrators were in touch with the protesters, Nuzzo said, to ensure the schools remained safe. She said most of them left once they were told to leave campus, although about 15 stayed on the sidewalk.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has been monitoring the protest, according to Sgt. Alex Schoening. He said the sheriff’s office has received complaints about the group “but nothing of a criminal nature.”

School board president Kyle Sproul told OPB that locking down Skyview High School, Alki Middle School and Chinook Elementary was the proper decision to ensure student safety.

“Regardless of one’s stance on mask mandates, I think most parents in our community agree that protesting at our school campuses and disrupting the school day is not in the best interest of students,” Sproul said.