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Crosscut Documentaries: Senior Year Was Crazy: Making the leap from high school to college during a pandemic

Making the leap from high school to college during a pandemic

Jacquelyn Jimenez Romero was wrapping up a successful senior year at Franklin High School — student government president, yearbook editor, varsity athlete — when COVID-19 threw off everything. Now she finds herself at home with mom, two younger siblings and limited internet access. Despite her family's challenges, she steps up to help her schoolmates navigate the situation, all while dealing with the stress of college decisions, financial insecurity and uncertainty about the future.

Making the leap from high school to college during a pandemic

Jacquelyn Jimenez Romero was wrapping up a successful senior year at Franklin High School — student government president, yearbook editor, varsity athlete — when COVID-19 threw off everything. Now she finds herself at home with mom, two younger siblings and limited internet access. Despite her family's challenges, she steps up to help her schoolmates navigate the situation, all while dealing with the stress of college decisions, financial insecurity and uncertainty about the future.

In King County, pollution makes ZIP codes predictors of your health

In Seattle, a ZIP code can predict everything from income to social class to life expectancy. White, wealthy residents of northern neighborhoods such as Laurelhurst live 13 years longer than their poorer neighbors of color in the southern neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown. Air and soil pollution has disproportionately affected Seattle’s communities of color for decades, but now a group of University of Washington researchers is working with those communities to understand how COVID-19 makes a dire situation worse.

A study from the UW’s Interdisciplinary Center for Exposures, Diseases, Genomics and Environment, or the EDGE Center, found King County’s highest rates of COVID-19 occurred in the south suburban areas of Auburn, Kent and Burien, near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Those disparities extend to the city of Seattle proper, where 5% to 8% positive rates of COVID-19 were concentrated in the South Seattle neighborhoods of South Park, Delridge and Rainier Valley. (By comparison, more affluent northern parts of Seattle saw positive coronavirus cases in only 3% of the population tested.)

For people already experiencing higher rates of asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer, COVID-19 compounds their level of risk. But it also presents opportunities for grassroots organizations to address long-standing racial barriers to health care and investment, all while empowering a community to raise awareness and push for political change through youth citizen science projects that monitor the pollution in their own backyards.

When you need dialysis, staying home is harder

For kidney failure patients, braving the world outside during a pandemic can be a matter of life and death. Some of the first COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were of dialysis patients, patients who tend to be older and have coexisting conditions and who can be particularly at risk when it comes to COVID-19. While states ask everyone to stay home and quarantine, for those getting essential weekly treatments to filter their blood and rid the body of toxins and waste, staying home is not an option. Across the U.S., dialysis centers have been some of the first places hit with the coronavirus; even those who test positive with the virus can't skip appointments. “It’s like a part-time job,” says Northwest Kidney Centers patient Larry Denenholz. "You are in the chair for five hours. Most of us do it three days a week.” Medical staff at Washington dialysis clinics, such as Northwest Kidney Centers in and around Seattle, were among the first in the nation to help set the standard for pandemic dialysis care, and their lessons continue to provide guidelines to others on how to safely provide life-saving treatment to patients.

Law & Order

Starla Sampaco speaks to Crosscut News & Politics Editor Donna Blankinship and Crosscut reporter David Kroman about the results of the most recent Crosscut-Elway poll focused on policing and public safety in the region.

Cattle ranchers in Eastern WA face the pandemic

Members of the Coon family of Adams County in rural Eastern Washington are no strangers to adversity and challenges on their fifth-generation family cattle ranch. But this moment is different; the pandemic has sent the kids home from school, caused health concerns in their community and threatened the livelihood of their cattle business.

A Seattle artist cuts through the chaos of a pandemic

Last spring, Barbara Earl Thomas was working diligently on her upcoming exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, painstakingly cutting silhouettes of Black and brown children into large swaths of stiff paper. Then the pandemic brought everything to a halt. But Thomas stayed on course, at first working alone, and eventually aided by assistants in her outdoor studio. With the nation’s attention newly alert to social justice, she expands upon her lifelong journey of exploring race and innocence through revelatory visual art.