During the COVID-19 crisis, Mount Mansfield Unified Union School District (MMUUSD) staff have been working very hard to adapt the school programming so that it is suitable for learning in the home environment. In addition, MMUUSD and districts throughout the state have made school breakfast and lunches available for pickup or delivery via school buses so that students have access to healthy and nutritious food on a regular basis. Even with these efforts, COVID-19 has exposed many inequities affecting the health and well-being of MMUUSD students.

In response to this, RiseVT Chittenden County partnered with MMMUUSD elementary school Physical Education (PE) teachers and the Western Slopes Business Association to support home-based Physical Education equipment for every student. Due to the stay at home orders and school closings from the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have very limited or no access to PE programming based on what they have available in their own homes. The goal of this project is to enable all MMUUSD students to engage in physical activity at home in an equitable manner by making it possible to send equipment home to students. The recipients are 900 pre-k through 4th grade students from Jericho Elementary School, Richmond Elementary School, Smilie Elementary School (Bolton), Brewster Pierce Memorial School (Huntington), and Underhill Central School.

The equipment kits included an assortment of jump ropes, different types of balls, and objects suitable for introductory juggling, such as scarves and feathers. The schools’ PE teachers selected and distributed the equipment for each student so that the kits were age appropriate and also corresponded to home-based PE units for May and June. The equipment was distributed by the PE teachers and many helpful volunteers via existing school lunch pickup and delivery systems.

Richmond resident and parent, Tim Monty, shared this about the project:

“Our son, Maxon, is in a program at Richmond Elementary School and while we didn’t expect him to be getting supplies he got them a couple of days ago and immediately my wife was teaching him how to jump rope in the backyard. He loved it and these supplies are helping us keep our youngsters outside during all of this. We are feeling so fortunate to live in a community with this type of support!”

This equipment can be used in the home at any time by students and their families in addition to the suggested PE program activities.

Special thanks to:
The Western Slopes Business Association (WSBA), Brian Godfrey, Lisa Lavoie, Kasie Enman, Amanda Cowan, Glen Steinman (the PE teachers), and all of the volunteers who helped who helped to pack and distribute the equipment kits.