By Faith Hoyt
The Pacific Union Executive Committee recently voted to provide $500K in stimulus checks to Adventist schools in each of the seven conferences, as well as Holbrook Indian School.
In early July, the Executive Committee of the Pacific Union Conference met together virtually to discuss the proposal and approved $500K from Union reserves to be distributed in the form of assistance payments to operational schools and early childhood education centers within the Pacific Union.
Approximately 141 early childhood, elementary, and secondary schools in the Pacific Union will receive checks of approximately $3,500 during the month of July. This aid comes in addition to monies that the North American Division has allocated to local conferences, totaling $760K for the whole division.
Support for schools has come from multiple sources as they plan for the upcoming academic year. “Back in April, our office provided about $35,000 to assist conferences in purchasing devices to provide to students who didn’t have access,” said Berit von Pohle, director of education for the Pacific Union. This summer, the Office of Education purchased an infrared thermometer for each school. Additionally, the Early Childhood program provided $200 grants for each center to reimburse for necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) expenses. “There are significant costs in assisting schools to open safely—PPE, plexiglass dividers, etc. However, it is also a show of support from the Union that we are all in this together,” said von Pohle.
Adventist Community Services is also lending a hand as schools prepare for the upcoming school year. A donation of masks offered to Adventist Community Services will be distributed to all teachers, staff, and pastors at our schools in our Union. Masks were delivered to the conference offices in California, Hawaii, and Nevada-Utah in mid-July.
“We hope to help by providing donated cloth face masks to all churches, schools, and community service centers of the Pacific Union through the local conference offices,” said Charlene Sargent, director of Adventist Community Services for the Pacific Union.
According to von Pohle, schools and teachers are working hard to meet the needs of the students. “The transition to remote learning happened very suddenly in the spring, and teachers immediately responded with a variety of ways to continue effective instruction,” she said.
Schools have spent the summer developing plans for re-opening. This is being done recognizing that there may be a need to begin the school year in a remote learning situation.
“We are so grateful for the dedication and commitment demonstrated by teachers,” said von Pohle. “They have worked hard to ensure both physical and emotional safety for students. Graduation celebrations underscored the desire of the schools and educators to acknowledge the accomplishments of the students.”
Photo: This summer, the Office of Education purchased an infrared thermometer for each school in the Pacific Union.
Credit: Kimberly Stubbert