Students stay fed thanks to school districts, during wellness week

As students remain home on the mandated wellness break, currently scheduled to last until Monday, April 6, the Ash Grove, Republic and Willard school districts continue to provide food services and learning opportunities for their students.

Learning Opportunities:
Each district is providing students with means to continue learning while they shelter at home.

Ash Grove…
At Ash Grove, where students came back from spring break on Monday, March 16, students are being provided with assignments to complete during the wellness break.
“K-6 students have been given learning packets to take home and complete,” said Dr. Aaron Gerla, superintendent of schools. “Students in seventh through 12th grades have taken home Chromebooks and different online and paper-based assignments. The learning opportunities are expected to be completed.”

A media inquiry sent to the Republic School District received no reply as of press time, however, according to information from the district’s website, learning opportunities are being created so that students will be able to continue their education online during the wellness break.
“We understand that school cannot be replicated,” the notice on the website stated. “However, our district is developing resources to support students in their learning while we are closed. Teachers and staff will be meeting virtually next week to develop alternative learning options for students that will be deployed for the week of March 30. When we have finalized details those will be shared with you next week.”

In Willard, where students came off of spring break on Monday, March 23, students have been given the opportunity to continue learning, if they choose to.
“At this time, learning will all be voluntary,” said Whitney Burrell, director of communications for Willard schools. “We’re providing a wide array of resources for families to use during this unique time if they choose to do so.”
Meal Services:
Families who have children on free and reduced lunch rely on the school districts to help provide meals for their children, and the districts have plans to continue providing students with meals during the Wellness Break.

Ash Grove...
The Ash Grove School District, for example, is delivering breakfast and lunch to students via a school bus each day; students receive their meals at their bus stops; the meals are delivered each day an hour after their regular bus stop time. Students are also able to drive up to the south side of the high school between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. to pick up their meals. Gerla said 40-50 volunteers helped to prepare and deliver meals to about 240 students. He added the number of students receiving meals “will continue to go up daily.”

The Willard School District is also providing meals to students during the Wellness Break; they began providing “grab and go” meals on Monday, March 23. The meals can be picked up at Willard High School, Willard South Elementary or Willard Intermediate School-South between 10 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday. The meals are free to all children, ages 18 and younger.
“We’re proud to provide Grab and Go Meals to our students that may need the extra support during this unprecedented time,” said Burrell. “We also understand all students don’t have the means to get to one of our three delivery sites, so we’re offering home delivery service to those who register online. We’re proud that this entire service is being provided by Willard Schools staff that are volunteering to help. None of our staff are mandated to participate.”

According to the Republic School District website, there are two options for students to get meals. One is to pick up meals at the Middle School, starting Wed., March 25. Families can drive up to the Middle School between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and pick up meals. The other is delivery of meals to designated locations, which starts on Monday, March 30. School buses will deliver meals to these locations daily from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The designated locations are: S. Lewis Street in Battlefield near the Prairie, Oak Village Apartments, Old Stone Apartments, Hines Street Pharmacy and Calvary Baptist Church. Those who will utilize the meal service are asked to fill out the free meal option form on the District Announcements page of the website.
No statewide assessments, missed school will not be made up:
A bit of good news for students: they won’t have to take statewide assessments this year. Missouri Education Commissioner Dr. Margie Vandeven made a virtual announcement via Twitter, where she stated all statewide assessments were canceled, “effective immediately.”
“There is a time and a place for required statewide testing; now is not the time,” she said during the announcement.
In a memo posted on the DESE website, Vandeven also stated that schools would not have to make up for time missed during the wellness break, meaning districts will not have to extend their school year.
More information is available for each district on their respective websites.


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