For parents like Evelyn Baker, who has two children in the Hattiesburg Public School District, the transition to at-home learning measures implemented because of COVID-19 just got a little easier with drive-thru supply stations set up at various schools across the district.
That effort began Friday at Thames Elementary School on Jamestown Road, where the school’s teachers took turns at the front of the school distributing learning materials and supplies to the school’s approximately 520 Pre-K through fifth-grade students.
“The teachers are making this extremely easy for us to come by and get prepared,” Baker said. “It’s drive-thru, so we’re still protecting ourselves, and they’re super organized. It’s been pretty smooth – all the teachers are contacting us through email, staying in touch, so they’re doing a really good job.
“The teachers have done so well throughout the school year and it’s been a breeze so far. It’s a tough time for us, and the teachers are doing an amazing job with making sure our students are still getting the education they need.”
During the process, parents are allowed to drive up to the front entrance of the school, where they will be directed to the pick-up point. Each of the school’s grades has a separate station stocked with bags containing resources and supplies.
“We wanted to distribute to our students the resources that they would need for at-home learning,” Thames principal Teresa Merwin said. “Some of our kids don’t have everything they need at home – some of their supplies are here at school – so it was very important to us that we set something in place so that parents could come and get these resources.
“The teachers came in and rotated out shifts to get all the resources ready. In the bags, we put their report cards, scissors, tape, glue – whatever that teacher felt like her children would need to be successful for these next few weeks while at home.”
Merwin said she was very pleased with Friday’s turnout, and proud of the school’s parents for participating in the iinitiative.
“We’ve always had good parents, and we’ve always had good turnouts when we’ve had things going on at school,” she said. “So we have a great little community, and I’m just really proud that they are putting their child’s education first.”
Thames third-grade teacher Evette Brown said the drive-thru setup is a great opportunity for parents to take advantage of the resources the school district has available for students.
“Of course, this is unfamiliar to all of us, and we want our kids to be able to stay engaged,” she said. “So of course we’re going to continue, as educators, to do what we can to help our kids throughout the community.
“It’s a great feeling, and it makes us hopeful. We know that (parents) want to continue their child’s education even though there are not in their regular school setting, so it’s a really great feeling.”
Parents are encouraged to look for future updates online at hattiesburgpsd.com regarding how to support students’ at-home learning. For specific information on at-home learning, parents may contact their child’s school from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday.