Members of the Shawnee School District No. 84 Board of Education were on hand last week at a Jonesboro School District No. 43 Board meeting to present a plaque to the neighboring district for assistance during the pandemic. From left are Jonesboro School Board secretary R.W. McAlister and board president Casey Johnson, receiving a plaque on behalf of Jonesboro, and Shawnee School Board president Tim Qualls and board member Jason Stegle.

Shawnee School officials thank Jonesboro School for special help

Representatives of Shawnee School District No. 84 were in attendance at the Jonesboro School District No. 43 Board of Education’s meeting on Thursday evening, Oct. 15, to formally voice appreciation to the  neighboring district.

Shawnee School District superintendent Shelly Clover-Hill said that starting on Tuesday, Sept. 8, nearly one-third of the school’s employees were placed in quarantine for 14 days, including all of the kitchen staff, due to the impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We had no way to serve food to our students,” said Clover-Hill during the public comments section of the meeting. 

“And I’m sure, like you, we are a high poverty school district. Food insecurity is a real problem. So the thought of some of those kids not eating for two weeks was very discouraging.”

Throughout the pandemic, Shawnee continued to provide meals to students, even during times of remote learning. 

In order to continue to provide this service, Clover-Hill contacted Jonesboro School District superintendent Kevin Westall to ask for assistance. 

“By Wednesday, Kevin and his crew, four kitchen staff and two custodians, and I’m sure there were others, had it all ready to go that Thursday morning,” said Clover-Hill. 

“We picked it up, we didn’t miss a beat, our kids didn’t miss a meal, they didn’t miss a breakfast, they didn’t miss a lunch, for two weeks.” 

To show their appreciation, the members of the Shawnee School Board presented a plaque to Jonesboro Elementary School for going “above and beyond.” 

“With sincere appreciation of your commitment in providing meals to our students during the pandemic,” the plaque read.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do that without the Jonesboro School District,” said Clover-Hill. “So we thought it was important to come tell the board how much we appreciate that.” 

“And if you ever need anything from your neighbors to the west, please let us know. We would be happy to return the favor.”

The Gazette-Democrat

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