Sumter School District schools modify meal distribution plan

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Sumter School District leaders laid out plans Wednesday for continued campus closures.

The day after Gov. Henry McMaster announced he intends to keep schools closed and instruction online through the end of April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, district Superintendent Penelope Martin-Knox wrote an open letter to parents, students and staff addressing online learning, technology support, mental health and meal distribution. She issued thanks for navigating the last 10 challenging days and for supporting students as adults' roles have shifted.

Online learning

As the district moves into its fourth quarter of the year, the timeline for when content will be delivered is being modified.

Beginning Monday, March 30, instruction will take place Monday-Thursday. Each Friday will be designated for teacher planning and make-up work time for students.

“Please ensure your child is engaged in reading Monday through Friday,” Martin-Knox said.

Schools will communicate their modified schedules to families.

“While this is not the traditional face-to-face learning style, learning should be continuous and ongoing,” she said.

Teachers have dedicated virtual office hours to maintain contact with their students.

Technology support

Martin-Knox said the majority of the district’s students have received Chromebooks.

Students and parents who need tech support can call (803) 469-6900, extension 406, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. For support in Spanish, dial extension 211. If you encounter an issue after 4 p.m. or during the weekend, email a short description of the problem and a call-back number to studentsupport@sumterschools.net.

Martin-Knox reminded parents and students that the district-supplied Chromebooks should be used for instructional purposes only.

Students who violate that policy by accessing inappropriate content, deemed movies, video games or inappropriate sites, they jeopardize the option of being allowed the device. Chromebooks can be blocked or revoked, and each device has a tracking monitor.

Contact your child’s school if the Chromebook is misplaced or stolen.

Taking care of your  mental health

This is a trying time for us all, Martin-Knox said, and the district has established a portal for students to reach out for support.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free, confidential support for anyone in distress. The hotline also provides prevention and crisis resources as well as best practices for professionals.

If you or someone you know wants emotional support, call 1-800-173-TALK, or text TALK to 741741.

Meal distribution

The district used data to evaluate the number of students who have retrieved meals during particular times of the day, which are being used to determine the way meals are distributed to students moving forward.

Beginning Monday, breakfast and lunch will be distributed throughout the community at sites listed below.

There will no longer be the option to pick up meals at schools except for the district’s food hubs, which are Pocalla Springs Elementary, Sumter High, Crestwood High and Hillcrest Middle schools, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Distribution from the Hillcrest hub

• Rembert Coalition Center — 10 a.m. / Rembert Post Office — 11 a.m.

• Catchall Center — 10 a.m. / Oakland Primary — 10:45 a.m. / Shaw Heights — 11:15 a.m.

• Windsor City — 10 a.m. / Hunter’s Crossing — 10:45 a.m.

• Crescent Mobile Homes — 10 a.m. / American Mobile Homes — 10:45 a.m.

• DeLaine Community Center — 10 a.m.

• Whispering Meadows — 10 a.m. / Annie & Bush — 10:30 a.m. / Lee Altman — 11 a.m.

• Frierson Mobile Homes — 10 a.m. / Ebenezer Center — 10:45 a.m. (van, not bus)

Distribution from the Pocalla hub

• Wedgefield Post Office — 10:15 a.m.

• Pioneer Drive — 10 a.m. / Country Springs — 10:30 a.m. / Havenwood — 11 a.m. / Pearson — 11:20 a.m. / Timmerman — 11:35 a.m.

• New Bethel Church — 10 a.m. / A&J Mobile Homes — 10:30 a.m. / Pack Road — 11 a.m.

• Pinewood Community Center — 10:45 a.m. / Manchester School — 11:15 a.m. / Pinewood Gardens — 11:40 a.m. (Van)

Distribution from the Crestwood hub

• Shiloh Community Center — 10 a.m. / St. John’s School — 10:45 a.m.

• Homestead — 10 a.m. / Cotton Acres — 10:45 a.m. / Cannery Road — 11:30 a.m.

• Dillon Park — 10 a.m. / Lantana Apts. — 10:45 a.m. / Chestnut Point — 11:10 a.m.

• Iris Winds — 10 a.m. / Sherwood Forest — 10:30 a.m.

• Salterstown Center — 10 a.m. / Falcon Crest — 10:45 a.m.

• Mary McLeod Bethune Library — 10:30 a.m. / Third Street — 11 a.m. (van)

Distribution from the Sumter High hub

• North HOPE Center — 10 a.m. / Trinity Baptist Church — 10:45 a.m. (Poplar Square and Miller Apts. will meet at Trinity)

• Birnie HOPE Center — 10 a.m. / Jehovah Center — 10:45 a.m.

• South HOPE Center — 10 a.m. / Lemira Elementary — 10:45 a.m.

• Crosswell Drive Elementary — 10:30 a.m. / Harmony Court — 11 a.m.(van)