GREENLAND, Ark. — The increase in COVID-19 cases has caused many school districts to pivot to Alternative Measure of Instruction (AMI) or remote learning.
Greenland and two Farmington schools began remote learning on Tuesday afternoon, Jan 11. This safety measure removed students from the building.
For many students, school is more than a center for learning, but also food security.
According to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, one in three children in Arkansas suffers from food insecurity. An additional 157,000 people suffer from hunger due to the pandemic.
The Arkansas Education Association says this is an issue across the state, and it’s important for educators to put teachers first.
“’It’s one of those things our school districts, our educators, always ensure that our students are put first. And we know having that nutrition is so important to their mental and psychological health growth,” Carol Fleming, President of the Arkansas Education Association, said.
While the classrooms are empty, the kitchen is still at work preparing meals for students who need them. Both Greenland and Farmington schools decided to continue to cook meals for students to provide that guaranteed meal.
At Greenland, students can drive up to pick up a meal. The superintendent says this food program is nothing new and that the program is year-round, especially on days of alternative learning and weather days.
“This has been going on for three years. Depending on the length, you know, multiple snow days, or Christmas break or things like that we may take food drops and deliver them to locations or we offer the cafeteria is open to stop by and pick up those kinds of meals,” Andrea Martin, PHD., superintendent for Greenland schools says.
Chef Michael Akins stayed in the kitchen to assemble meals and says this is a fulfilling job.
“It’s one of those things our school districts, our educators, always ensure that our students are put first. And we know having that nutrition is so important to their mental and psychological health growth,” Akins said.
Programs like this were created to help combat food insecurity. To find food or how to help visit the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.