Education — like every aspect of life in Sisters Country — has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. With teachers striving to provide for their students, the Sisters Schools Foundation (SSF ) is making an exceptional fall distribution of funds to fill educator requests.

At the same time, the Foundation is conducting their fall campaign to raise funds to to enrich, supplement and enhance education opportunities for all students in the Sisters School District.

While Sisters Middle School and Sisters High School students are mostly engaged in “distance learning,” students in kindergarten through third grade have been in class, and more students are poised to return to the classroom. That poses challenges for staff. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, students’ supplies cannot be shared.

“We have to use individual things per kid now,” said SSF board member Ross Kennedy.

“The structure of the classroom has to be set up differently in so many ways for the kids,” said SSF President Treasure Lewis. “Teachers are asking us for things that are very different from what they usually ask for, because they are trying to keep their kids safe and organized, and everything close to their desks.

One of the requests the Foundation is planning to fulfill is the purchase of “seat sacks” for students so that their supplies can be kept all together in individual containers and they don’t have to get up and move around class to get materials. Another is “sit spots” to help kids remember to stay physically distanced from one another.

The PE teacher has requested a wireless microphone and speaker so as to conduct classes with students widely spread out.

The focus is not solely on younger grades. The Foundation has helped with individual art supplies for Sisters High School Arts students. SSF partnered with the Roundhouse Foundation and the school district to purchase one-person tents so that IEE (Interdisciplinary Environmental Expedition) students could safely participate in one of Sisters High School’s important rites of passage.

“They did an expedition up on Middle Sister and they were able to do an overnight,” Lewis said.

Safety and providing for some of the experiences that make education in Sisters special are priorities for the Foundation. There is a total of about $20,000 in requests and Kennedy said the Foundation “would love to get as close as we can” to that number.

Donors can learn about requests and make contributions at http://ssd6.org/ssf. One hundred percent of contributions go to programs. Donors can make general donations or target specific programs. A targeted donation does not have to match a particular request on the list.

Donations are needed as soon as possible in order to act on urgent requests; the campaign will run through the Thanksgiving weekend.

“We are really grateful and appreciate those who are able to step up and do this,” Kennedy said.