VENETA, Ore. -- A Medford-based Grocery chain is helping students during the COVID-19 outbreak by giving them access to their Wi-Fi.
C&K Markets, which owns Ray’s Food Place and Shop Smart stores, has set up networks designed for students so they can access the internet in the store's parking lots. The company operates 38 stores in Oregon and Northern California.
Veneta Ray's Food Place manager Jay Payne said it's ready to go, all the students have to do is ask them for the password. He said any students, regardless of their school district or college, can use it. He said all they have to do is ask the staff for the password.
"I think it's really going to help the community," Payne said. "It should help those kids to be able to continue their school work."
Leaders at Fern Ridge School District said they are reaching out to their families to find find out what their online learning needs are. They plan to have their distance learning plan ready by April 13.
Sarah Naegeli is the business manager at West Lane Tech, a public charter high school. She said they have 100 students and were already doing online learning. She said at least six students don't have access to a computer or the internet at home. She said they are working to make sure all of their students have laptops.
"Ray's Food Place is a huge part of our community anyway," Naegeli said. "They do a lot to help support not only the community but the schools as well. So I think this going to be a great, great help."
The company has also set up set hours for customers over 60 and those with health risks. The stores are open exclusively for their shopping on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
They have also installed protective barriers in checkout lanes and adjusted their store hours to ensure that they are cleaned, sanitized and stocked.
Ray’s Oregon stores are in Bandon, Canyonville, Central Point, Drain, Eagle Point, Gold Beach, Gold Hill, Jacksonville, LaPine, Merlin, Myrtle Creek, Oakridge, Phoenix, Port Orford, Prineville, Rogue River, Roseburg, Selma, Sisters, Sutherlin, Talent, Veneta, Waldport and Yachats, with a Shop Smart location in Cave Junction.