SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Tuesday (1-25-22) marked the first day of virtual learning for some schools dealing with COVID-19. However, virtual learning is not solving all the problems schools are facing.

Supervision and food for students while they’re out of school remains a key priority. The King’s Way United Methodist Church in Springfield is trying to help schools by offering a free learning pod for students to join.

“It really means us helping get them online and making sure we’re dealing with tech issues,” said Scott Bons, King’s Way United Methodist Church Associate Pastor. “The students have packets, which means as a learning pod, us helping them with that homework and kind of taking the role of a parent in this situation because parents are at work.”

Bons said 24 students are currently involved this week, all for free. He said they are making sure to keep up with COVID-19 precautions.

“We are, as much and as often as possible, keeping kids at least six feet apart or more at different times, and then keeping masking on at all times, except for when they’re eating lunch,” Bons said.

Bons said students can get on a waitlist to join the learning pod.

In Bolivar, school leaders said due to the number of people sick they had to take a wellness break. The district moved to virtual learning Tuesday and Wednesday (1-26-22). District Superintendent, Richard Asbill, said they originally had no way of providing food to students on these days.

“Our food service staff has just really been hit, so we have people that were moved to different buildings, we’re just really short-handed,” Asbill said. “We knew that going into today and tomorrow, we just weren’t going to be able to meet that food need for our students and staff.”

Bolivar schools are getting some relief after a church called “The Heights” stepped up to provide sack lunches to students.

“In our community, we have lots of families that are dependent on this food,” said Matt Bunn, The Heights Church Pastor. “We wanted to make sure they didn’t go without during this time.”

School officials said they handed out 91 sack lunches Tuesday.