Tacoma Public Schools adds study aids to free lunch handouts

VIDEO: Tacoma Schools add study aids to free lunch handouts

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma Public Schools are now handing out study aids in addition to free meals for kids stuck at home during the coronavirus shutdown.

The so-called enrichment packets are meant for families who may not have online access or just need a supplement to the school district’s internet-based study guides.

“I do, but I don’t have a printer so this helps out a lot,” said Donna Dial as she picked up enrichment packets for two kindergartners and a fifth grader.

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Angela Cannon’s husband is working from home now, tying up the family’s computer. So for her kindergarten-aged daughter the enrichment studies are vital.

“Kindergarten’s a crucial time,” said Cannon. “They try to put it away like, hey it’s just like summer break, but they need to learn.”

First Creek Middle School Principal Rosemarie Burke says the packets don’t replace classroom work and are not meant as home schooling tools. But they help reinforce skills students have already learned.

“It keeps them busy and their brains going, and busy hands and busy minds are great things for kids,” Burke said.

Lunches are still being handed out at middle schools around Tacoma. And Tuesday Tacoma Public Schools started a sort of neighborhood delivery service. The sack lunches, holding two meals for each child whether they are enrolled in public school or not, are now also being loaded onto buses that drive to neighborhood elementary schools so parents don't have to go as far to get them.

“We have over 16,000 students on free and reduced price meals,” said district spokesperson Alicia Lawver. “There’s a lot of gratefulness, especially people who don’t have cars and can’t make it out here. So we’re trying to get as close to people as we can.”

More information on family resources and sites where the enrichment packets are available can be found here.