Wed. May 27th, 2020

Barren County Schools works to feed students during closure

Michelle Johnson places a box of food inside a bag while Lisa Birdsell holds the bag. Staff members of Barren County Schools delivered food to students around Barren County March 20, 2020.
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Photos by Brennan Crain/WCLU News.


GLASGOW, Ky. – It was one bus driver, a bus monitor and two teachers who took to the roads of Barren County Friday to deliver several breakfast and lunch packages.

Barren County Schools is only one of many school systems in the area, state and country that is providing meals to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Glasgow Independent Schools and Metcalfe County Schools also devised plans to feed students during school closures.

Ronnie Maners drives bus 33 for Barren County Schools. His route travels along Scottsville Road and into areas nearby.

Maners’ bus route covers about 21 miles in Barren County. Along that stretch, 45 meals are served each weekday.

“We get to see a lot of parents that way,” Maners said. “The kids are still sleeping in, and so we interact with each other and holler and see how they’re doing. They’re pretty good kids. It’s an enjoyment to me to get to do this.”

Barren County High School English teacher Michelle Johnson volunteered Friday on Maners’ bus. She said she misses her students but felt the delivery route would be a way to see and serve students.

“I felt like it was a wonderful opportunity to serve our students and offer a smile – a little bit of hope – in a time when they might have some uncertainty.”

Freshman science teacher Lesley Shive also spent Friday morning on bus 33 preparing meals with Johnson.

Shive said one challenge during the school closure has been keeping contacts with students. Many have called this time “unknown” and “uncharted.” Shive said

“I’m trying to reach contact with my kids, as much as I can,” Shive said. “Again, I’m missing their faces.”

Students across Kentucky are completing non-traditional instruction assignments. NTI for Barren County students comes in the form of iLearn at Home.

Shive said students should consistently check their emails and other forms of communication.

“Be sure that you are talking to your teachers, and emailing your teachers,” Shive said. “That’s what we really need to know: that everything is going OK for you, and we’re here for you.”

Johnson said one of her children is a second-grade student in the school district. Even those classrooms have integrated Google Classroom, and various online media, into their NTI instruction.

It’s the communication that’s essential during the closure, according to Johnson.

“We just need that open communication with the students,” Johnson said. “Checking email is so important, making sure you know how to do that. We do miss their faces, and that’s been the difficult part of it – not having them in that face-to-face instruction every day.”

Staff were working Friday to compile iLearn at Home packets for the extended closure. Barren County Schools recently extended it’s closure through April 20, per direction from Gov. Andy Beshear.

“We’re here for questions, and we’re waiting through it with them,” Johnson said.


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