Opinion: Shari Malloy–Use Vacant Schools to Help with Crisis

Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on Unsplash
This is an opinion piece that was submitted to the Longmont Observer. It does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Longmont Observer. The Longmont Observer does not edit, nor spell check, opinion pieces submitted to us. If you have an opinion piece you'd like published, please visit our 'Submit an Opinion' page.

Like the rest of our world, our community is facing the consequences of COVID-19. For good reasons, St. Vrain schools are closed for the foreseeable future. There are huge needs that could be addressed by opening up a few of these schools.

There is big need for child care for children of essential service providers (ie. Medical, fire/police, trash, electric, water, public transportation etc). Vacant school buildings have ample classrooms (allowing for separation), restrooms, large kitchens, gyms, and playgrounds. Additionally, they have ideal security systems to monitor who is/is not allowed access.

We have a substantial number of people who are homeless. They are at higher risk of being exposed to and spreading the virus with little/no means of “staying home” much less getting treatment. A high school would be an ideal location for people who are homeless because they have the addition of showers.

Boulder County has opened a recreation center in Boulder for people who are homeless and experiencing COVID 19 symptoms throughout Boulder County. HOPE staff, two churches and volunteers are doing an incredible job of night and now day sheltering while using strict protocols to create clean and safe environments for folks in need. The Journey and FaithPoint Churches are to be commended for providing this sheltering. Both facilities are now limited in addressing the new challenges compared to a high school with classrooms, large kitchen, and showers.

As a retired St. Vrain teacher and long time Longmont resident, I’m confident many St. Vrain Valley School District employees and community members who are in a position to do so would volunteer to help this effort. Our schools belong to all of us. Please join me in contacting school board members and superintendent, Don Haddad to step up and allow our vacant schools to be part of the solution: http://www.svvsd.org/board .

Shari malloy
Longmont CO 80501

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