WEAKLEY COUNTY (August 27) – Safety precautions are necessary to help avoid the spread of COVID-19 in Weakley County Schools. But those precautions demand additional steps and procedures from faculty, staff and bus drivers. To help lighten the load, Weakley County Schools has launched a new volunteer program.
Weakley CARES (Caring Adults Ready to help Educators and Students) asks for a commitment of at least five hours per month from participants. Among the activities, Weakley CARES volunteers could be asked to help cover include early-morning temperature checks, sitting with sick children who are waiting for their parents to take them home, taking meals to classrooms and helping with cleanup, giving teachers a break during meal times, riding on buses to help sanitize between routes and serving as a workroom assistant.
“We are asking our drivers to monitor mask-wearing on our buses, teachers and education assistants to handle additional duties while also learning new technology in case we have to move to remote learning, and our cafeteria staffs to customize safe meal delivery,” explained Director of Schools Randy Frazier. “If volunteers could give us an hour in the morning, at lunches, or in the afternoon, we could relieve some of the stress our school employees are experiencing,” he added.
Seeing the need, members of the Weakley County Reconciliation Project offered their time and commitment to the program. The group has held Zoom training sessions with the Monitored Distance Learning department through the county school system.
“We’re all excited and looking forward to supporting our future and the educational professionals in our community,” WCRP members noted. The organization is made up of diverse individuals in professions throughout the county with a common interest to openly discuss matters of race and social injustice.
After a call for help was issued by the School System, members of the Weakley County Reconciliation Project joined together to offer assistance to help fill in the gaps.
To become a volunteer, individuals need to complete an application available online at weakleyschools.com under the “News” tab. The application allows the potential volunteer to select types of activities and preferred locations. Once the application is received, Catherine Jones, Parent and Family Engagement Coordinator, will work with principals to determine what tasks are needed at the time of the volunteer’s availability. Since volunteers will be interacting with students for a prolonged period, background checks are required.
The cost of the check must be assumed by the potential volunteer.
“We know that our communities want our schools to succeed and have always responded when we have asked for their support,” said Frazier. “We also know we have potential substitute teachers and bus drivers – two roles we are having trouble filling – who are unsure of their ability to work with children and youth. Weakley CARES will help those individuals get a taste for school life. We would love for our volunteer program to feed into filling these critical needs as well,” he added.
For more information, contact Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.