Village Way leadership announces youth, educators will return to classes.

Village Way leadership issued the following coronavirus crisis updates for Yemin Orde Youth Village and Village Way Educational Initiatives. For the time being, the situation at the Village and in our partner educational communities is dynamic, with youth returning to school and and staff and educators adjusting to the "new normal" of smaller classes, physical distancing, temperature checks and masks.

Yemin Orde Youth Village

As of Wednesday, May 6, the approximately 170 youth who either remained in the Village or returned several weeks ago have started school in classrooms. The classmates who still remain in their homes joined them via Zoom. On Sunday, May 10, approximately 150 more youth are expected to return to the Village, bringing the total population back up to 320 – almost a full house! Recent returnees will need to quarantine for 14 days, according to current government guidelines.

HOUSING:  Youth returning Sunday will live 4 to a room in a home and will be separated from youth already out of quarantine. Many youth who are just arriving after almost two months have returned to old habits of sleeping late and lax study habits. Some of them found jobs to help support their families. Others may have been frustrated from trying to solve problems at home and turned back to using substances.

SCHOOL:  Youth who return this Sunday will participate in learning with teachers inside their homes. The challenge is find the many teachers needed who can safely return to the Village. Distance learning will continue for those who are still at home, which is mostly basically 9th and 10th  graders.

  • Social workers also coming back but will have to maintain the proper distance.
  • Teachers will have to wear masks.

DINING: Kitchen staff and dining logistics are changing dramatically – for example, only 60 people will be served at a time in the dining hall, temperatures will be checked, and more. Meals will be brought to homes where youth are still in quarantine.

VISITORS: There are youth who have remained in the Village since Purim (March) and Youth return to Yemin Ordehaven't seen their families (referring to those families in Israel, not those from abroad). We are considering arranging visits for family members but they will have to maintain a distance from their children.

NEXT STEPS: We are now focusing on saving the lives of students who can't stay in their chaotic environment anymore. Next steps include getting the word out that the kids know they can come back.

We need to be prepared that some may say they don't want to go into quarantine; there will be students who are now working and we need to emphasize that studies are a priority, that the matriculation exams are soon and they need to study intensively.

Additionally, we have staff who will be going out to make visits to the kids who can’t come back yet. They will try to meet them in groups outside to do workshops and other activities. In addition, the Village will oversee the following:

• A survey documenting where returning youth have spent their time the past few months: home the whole time? At a job?
• Transportation to bring remaining youth to the Village.
• Youth who do not follow the instructions of quarantine will be sent home.

Village Way Educational Initiatives

The Village Way Educational Institute continues to serve as a source of support and strength for our partnering educational communities during this time. This week, many of our partnering high schools and youth villages are in stages of bringing back small groups of kids to their educational communities, and our facilitators are working closely on these issues.

  • The Educational Institute hosted a remote Intercommunity Forum Meeting on the topic of issues surrounding graduating seniors during this crisis. Ninety educators from our partnering communities attended this online conference, and walked away with ideas and materials for creating special events, guiding seniors towards next steps, and the goodbye process.
  • On Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day), the Educational Institute hosted four different Zoom memorial events in cooperation with the Border Police.
  • Distributed materials for the month of Ramadan, including updating a website "Month of Mercy” in collaboration with Mahat Acco High School, and also creating a video from educators and Village Way staff wishing a Ramadan Kareem to all of our Muslim partners.
  • Tvunot High School, an ultra-orthodox school for girls, served as a source of strength for their local community. The teachers created care packages of activities for youth to do while isolated at home, and each student received two packages, one to keep, and one to pass on to someone who needs it – a friend or neighbor. The school also distributed additional packages to youth at risk in the community.
  • Mechina Leadership Programs continue to serve young adults at risk with volunteer opportunities in their wider communities. This includes helping seniors with food deliveries and working in the fields at nearby farms. Photos below.

Click here to see articles, photos and videos of how the coronavirus has impacted the Village Way family.

Click here to read a personal message from Yemin Orde's Racheli Yaso-Ngatuo.
Click here to see a video message from our Board Chair, Robert Arogeti.

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