The Aberdeen School District, the YMCA of Grays Harbor and the ASD5 Athletic Department are partnering to offer outdoor conditioning and other activities to students in the new ASD5 Health and Wellness Program. Students will take part in pods of five with adult supervision and strict compliance with Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) regulations.

The YMCA of Grays Harbor conducted focus groups with high school students last week. Based on those conversations, the Y is developing an array of activities that will most likely be offered under covered areas at district facilities. Registration opens this week with the first activities scheduled to begin December 14 for high school and December 21 for junior high. Students will be informed how to sign up via their online school accounts.

More than a dozen conditioning pods have already been formed by the Athletic Department. The high school athletes will start using Stewart Field on Monday, Dec. 7. Each pod of five students will remain together and work their way through stations. Students will be required to maintain six-feet of social distancing, no shared use of items, outdoors only, and masks will be mandatory at all times.

“This is a large undertaking on behalf of the health and wellbeing of our students,” Superintendent Alicia Henderson said. “We are very grateful to have the YMCA as a partner.”

Franzine Potts, CEO for YMCA of Grays Harbor, said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Aberdeen School District for the school district wide Health and Wellness Project and getting back to what we do best – helping everyone reach their full potential.”  COVID-19 has serious implications for the mental health of youth and the amount of stress and anxiety can be overwhelming. “The Y has served Grays Harbor for more than 118 years, during which we have made it through many challenging times together, none perhaps as impactful for our community and our Y as this COVID-19 crisis,” she said.

Superintendent Henderson stressed that it will be very important to the program’s success that students obey distancing rules. “We are very excited to be able to offer these activities, but no hugging!” she said. “We know our students miss each other and it’s important that they have time together, but it will only work if everyone observes the distancing and masking rules. No exceptions.”

District officials also said safety dictates that the activities will be closed to parents and visitors, and that students, parents and staff should arrive and depart promptly, with no socializing on school property. “Everyone will need to be vigilant and mindful in order for this to work,” Superintendent Henderson said.

The Health and Wellness Program is open to students enrolled in the Aberdeen School District. Local levy dollars have been identified for funding.

Here is a breakdown of the timeline (subject to change to meet programming needs):

Week of Dec. 7:         Conditioning begins at AHS for high school athletes.

                                    Registration opens midweek for activities organized by the YMCA.

Week of Dec. 14:       Activity pods begin for high school students.

                                    Registration opens for Miller Junior High student activities.

Week of Dec. 21:       Miller Junior High students begin activities.

January 2021:            Activities will be developed for elementary students.

Students should watch their online district accounts for more information.