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Clarksville pivots to off-site learning due to shortage of cafeteria workers

One cafeteria worker tested positive for COVID-19 and because of that several others had to get tested and stay home until they get their results.

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. — The Clarksville School District pivoted to off-site learning Monday, Sept. 28 because of a shortage of cafeteria workers. 

One cafeteria worker tested positive for COVID-19 and because of that several others had to get tested and stay home until they get their results.

“There on Friday before we went home, we had another situation come up where we had some individuals who were showing symptoms and that were going to be tested and our concern was that we were not going to be able to operate our cafeterias Monday morning,” said Clarksville Superintendent David Hopkins said.

Hopkins says they have received some test results back for some of those employees and they are negative, so they will be reopening the schools for on-site learning Tuesday (Sept. 29), but they will still be short-staffed in the cafeterias. 

“It’s very touch and go at this point and hopefully we don’t have any more positive cases coming out of there," Hopkins said. "It was strictly just a situation of a personnel issue in trying to operate our cafeterias is what closed us down this time."

Carrie Callahan has a son in third grade and says it was difficult for her son to participate in virtual learning. She works during the day and they don’t have high-speed internet at their house. 

“I think there is a lot of value in being around your classmates, talking to your teacher, knowing your teacher, making new relationships that he did not get over the spring and summer and he missed that,” she said.

Hopkins says there is a lot that goes into making the decision to go virtual and he understands the impact it has on the community. 

“We want to be open and we want our kids here and we want the education to be taking place here in our classrooms on-site, that’s what we want for everybody but we realize that that might not always be the case and we have to react to COVID and do what’s best and try to be safe with our kids and our staff,” he said.

The district says on-campus learning will start again Tuesday and they are hopeful they will have enough staff back at work to operate the cafeterias like normal. Students were still able to pick up free lunches at school Monday.

RELATED: List of confirmed coronavirus cases in Northwest Arkansas & River Valley schools

RELATED: Some local schools could lose free lunch grant money due to low enrollment