Social distancing concerns over temporary space at Stoner Creek Elementary

West Wilson Middle
Posted at 5:56 PM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 19:46:20-04

WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — They say, when it rains, it pours. To Amy Hudson, it feels like a deluge. "We don’t have another place to put our babies," said Hudson.

First, her child's school, Stoner Creek Elementary was leveled by a tornado in March 2020. Then came the pandemic, which is plaguing the temporary space for those children to learn. "Our school right now is two hallways and a gym that is on the Stoner Creek campus," said Hudson.

Stoner Creek students are currently being taught in two hallways of the old West Wilson Middle School, which has forced some classes to double up.

"There’s no way for them to social distance when there’s two classes in one classroom. There’s still a pandemic going on," she said.

Hudson says it's even more crowded on the buses, that transport students over to the old campus for lunch and gym class. "But our kids on buses twice a day with an entire grade level is a little bit scary," said Hudson.

The mother of two is also concerned her 5-year-old doesn't have any playground space and her class is forced to play on the blacktop.

She wants to be clear, she doesn't blame faculty and staff at the school. She sang the praises of teachers and administrators for being resilient in the face of such difficulties. "They’re doing what they can with what they have, and they’re doing an amazing job," said Hudson.

But the proud SCES mother does wish the district and community would do more to help their situation. "It’s hard to see families struggling and hurting because they don’t want their children sick," she said.

Wilson County Schools spokesperson Bart Barker says the district has ordered several portable classrooms that could help with classroom capacity, but when they'll be ready is still up in the air.

"That process does take some weeks, right now fall break is a good target date but it could be a slight moving target here and there," said Barker.

Barker adds, so far, the school's COVID count has been relatively low. "Stoner Creek Elementary is among the lowest as we speak right now, so I think that says a lot tremendously for the administration," said Barker.

But Hudson is worried, just because it's not raining now, doesn't mean it won't forever. "It’s a fear that if it does, it would be much worse here than it would be elsewhere because we don’t have the space to social distance," said Hudson.

Wilson County did not offer virtual education for elementary-aged students this year. Meanwhile, the district hopes to have Stoner Creek Elementary rebuilt in time for the next school year.