Health Promotion Research Center

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Helping Keep Communities Safe from COVID-19 

The University of Washington, Fred Hutch Cancer Center office for Community Health Promotion, and community partners continue to work with elementary schools in the Yakima School District to support students in safely returning to classrooms, even after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This project, ReOpening Schools Safely and Educating Youth (ROSSEY), provides students and families with information on COVID-19 testing and vaccines, as well as how to stay safe during COVID-19 through comic books and parent videos. Some students and families will receive the comic books and videos throughout the study, while other families will receive all comic books and videos at the end of the study.

The ROSSEY project  continues to help us learn how to make schools safer for students and their families, which can help us prepare for future pandemics. 

The ROSSEY team also encourages students, families, and school staff to get a free COVID-19 test each week at the Yakima School District Testing Center.

YSD Testing Info

Young girl with braided hair and a mask on running.

Project Overview 

There are 660 Yakima School District students and 520 parents participating in ROSSEY. They are helping us understand their concerns about COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and returning to school. All participating families are asked to:

Watch & Read

  • Watch two 5-minute videos about COVID-19.
  • Read three comic books about three siblings and their experiences during the time of Covid-19. A read-along video will be provided for younger readers.

Complete Surveys

Families were asked to complete several surveys at different points in time. These surveys are confidential and only reports using group-level data will be publicly available at the end of the study. The surveys include:

  • Baseline Survey: Families were asked questions about their demographic information, health history, and COVID-19 related behaviors.
  • Weekly 5-Minute Check-In Surveys: Parents completed a short weekly survey for an average of 10 months. The survey asked about whether their child was currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Note: Weekly surveys ended November 2022.
  • Health Surveys: Parents complete three separate surveys about physical activity and stress throughout the school year. Parents receive $50 per household per survey, which is $150 for completing all three surveys.
  • YSD Testing Center: Parents are encouraged to have participating children get tested for COVID-19 weekly at the Yakima School District Testing Center.

ROSSEY at a Glance


Students in the study were 54% female, 79% Hispanic, 15.6% White, 1% Native American, and 4% were Black or Asian. Students were evenly split across grades K-5.

What We Learned

Since the study began, many students have been using healthy behaviors, which help to stop the spread of COVID-19. Here are some things students have been practicing:

  • 74% of Yakima students wear their masks.
  • 83% of Yakima students wash their hands with soap or use hand sanitizer.
  • 24% of Yakima students frequently cover their cough/sneeze when around others.
  • 60% of Yakima students practice social distancing.
  • 70% of Yakima students did not attend a large gathering (20 or more people) in the 7 days prior to taking the survey.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

As of November 30th, 2022:

  • 50% of parents believe their families are safer when they receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 43% of parents believe it is important for their child to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 44% of parents believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and 46% believe that it does a good job of preventing COVID-19.

Yakima School District (YDS) Testing Center

Students, their families, and school staff, including teachers, can get a free weekly COVID-19 test thanks to the Yakima School District.

Location: 331 N 1st St, Yakima, WA 98901 (across from Mel’s Diner and next to Dutch Brothers)

Hours & Info

Community Resources

Read about the latest news and findings from the ROSSEY project.


A group of children stand outside of a school with a principal

Early Learning Community Brief
UW Health Promotion Research Center (June 24, 2023)

Two school children in masks wave

ROSSEY 2022: A Year in Review
UW Health Promotion Research Center (December 20, 2022)

ROSSEY Project Updates: Summer & Spring 2021 Findings
UW Health Promotion Research Center (October 3, 2021)


  • Coming Soon!


Newspaper showing legs of students running a race

Nob Hill Students Finish Their Nighthawk Strong Challenge
Yakima School District (June 2, 2022)

Newspaper showing students wearing mask and touching elbows

Testing a Safe & Confident Return to Classrooms for Latino Youth
UW Institute of Translational Health Sciences (May 27, 2022)

Contact Us

If you have questions about ROSSEY, please contact us.


Phone: 888-774-7404

This project is made possible, in part, thanks to funding from the National Institutes of Health (agreement number 1 OT2 HD107544-01). ROSSEY is one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) projects, which aim to ensure that all Americans have access to COVID-19 testing and focus on communities most affected by the pandemic. 

The views and conclusions contained on this website are those of the UW Health Promotion Research Center and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the NIH.