RSL Foundation Donates Home School Kits To Help Navajo Nation Students
Apr 30, 2020, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:25 pm
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Volunteers and the Real Salt Lake Foundation helped pack hundreds of homeschooling kits for Navajo Nation students in the San Juan School District.
The Navajo Nation has been one of the country’s top COVID-19 hot spots, and educating students was just one of many complicated problems leaders have been addressing during the pandemic.
“Everything packed today is leaving tomorrow for the Navajo reservation. Kits will spend four days in quarantine and all these grade level packs will be going out on school buses,” said Mary VanMinde, RSL Foundation director.
Over half of the homes on the reservation do not have internet or electricity, complicating efforts to have students learn from home.
“A big majority of them, probably 50% of our students, they don’t have running water or electricity at their house, let alone having Wi-Fi,” said Mike Tuckfield, principal of Tse’bii’nidzisgai Elementary in Utah’s Monument Valley.
But more than 20 volunteers gathered at Rio Tinto Stadium on Thursday to put together 1,500 distance learning kits to help students overcome these challenges.
#HappeningNow: Volunteers from several organizations- @realsaltlake, @HeartofAmericaF, @GoalZero, @AngelFlight, & many others. It’s a $1M donation for students on the #Navajo Reservation who live in remote areas, unplugged from internet electricity. @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/YbI6J6ScYh
— Garna Mejia (@GarnaMejiaKSL) April 30, 2020
The kits included solar lanterns, books, school supplies, art materials and STEM learning items for students.
The RSL Foundation and partners like Heart of America, Swinerton Renewable Energy, JinkoSolar Inc., Angel Flight West, Goal Zero and several others donated the materials.
Some of those partners planned to donate wireless internet hotspots and solar batters that can power a small home for several days, and the group donated more than 50,000 personal protective gear items.
Those deliveries were underway and will continue through the summer.
The Utah Department of Health sent a mobile testing unit to the Utah portion of the reservation in San Juan County, where 22 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed as of Wednesday night.
The Navajo Department of Health reported 62 coronavirus-related deaths and 1,873 total cases as of Wednesday. Officials also implemented a 57-hour curfew that begins Friday evening and lasts throughout the weekend to promote social distancing.