McComb School District - Pandemic Partnership Response

The McComb School District’s primary goals are to serve its students and the community by any means necessary and we have surpassed expectations of what they could and should look like during the time of a crisis. When COVID-19 made its appearance and decided it was here to stay we devised a plan to still service scholars in spite of the obstacles it presented. We provided scholars with academic work packets, meals, access to speak with counselors via telephone and a graduation for our senior scholars that’d been looking forward to walking across a stage in front of their families and friends to since the day they stepped foot on the high school campus.

In unprecedented times we stood firm, collected masks, Lysol, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and was provided safety guidance from our head nurse to return all essential staff members to work after the quarantine to continue making sure scholar success was inevitable. With that being said, we began looking into different options to allow parents and/or scholars to pick up their classwork, safely. Each individual school created packets of coursework for each grade level ensuring they would continue to learn within the safety of their own homes. Our community engagement department was able to reach out to the local newspaper, Enterprise Journal, and secure several newspaper boxes through donation. The boxes were filled with academic packets, placed on the high school’s bus ramp and served as a drive-thru pick up spot for each grade level. Teachers also assisted in delivering lesson plans to students and some waited in the heat next to the donated newspaper boxes to help assist parents should they need anything.

Beyond academic packets, we also seized the opportunity to continue feeding our scholars although they were not physically in our care. More than 40,000 meals were served to students during the outbreak of Covid - even on the day a tornado struck. These meals were often delivered by bus drivers, administrators, teachers and all other staff members that graciously volunteered their time. At the end of the school year we normally celebrate graduates and congratulate them on their accomplishments. While school year 2019-2020 looked different, we were still able to make it a memorable celebration. We began to realize that once March and then April came and went without scholars being allowed back on campus, this was more than just an “extended spring break”. After quickly coming to that realization we began planning what graduation could and should look like considering the circumstances. The school district recognized the scholar’s achievements and allowed them to participate in a graduation

that many thought would be impossible. We had a parade for the seniors, allowing them to drive through and be applauded and decided to place yards signs in the high school’s front lawn that displayed each individual scholar. Beyond that, we provided seniors an opportunity to walk in front of their parents at graduation by having them arrive in groups based on their last names. Once the graduation ceremonies concluded a video was seamlessly put together that compiled each ceremony to at least allow the graduates to feel like they’d graduated with their friends.

The trials and tribulations that came forth with Covid will not be forgotten but the efforts, dedication and commitment of the staff, scholars, parents and community is what has gotten us through it all.

The McComb School District as well as our Partners in Education (PIE) wanted to recognize the selfless employees and volunteers for being “Heroes” that adapted and took on new jobs within the district during the pandemic. While others were home concerned about their own health and person well-being, rightfully so, our employees and volunteers were in schools preparing packets, in the streets delivering meal, providing parents with academic packet deliveries if they didn’t have a vehicle and going the extra mile to ensure academic success was achieved throughout the district.

Community Partners:
Southwest Distributors - Rob Belot/ Owner, Pike National Bank - Jennifer Wallace/ President, Rainbow- Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep - Mike Bebe/ Owner Principal, Enterprise Journal - Jack Ryan/ Newspaper Editor, Sparklight - John Hilbert/ District Manager.