TWIGGS COUNTY, Ga. — The Jeffersonville Elementary School campus looks like thousands of schools across the country... empty.
COVID-19 closings are keeping students home, and it's not easy for Counselor Jarvis Wilcher.
"This social distancing is very difficult for me because I really like to connect with my students and just to see their smiling faces and I love their hugs," Wilcher said.
He is the person students turn to when they feel like they don't have anyone else to talk to.
"What I do is I call them into my office and talk to them, just to give them some strategies on how to cope with those social-emotional issues that they're having," Wilcher said.
COVID-19 isn't stopping his work. He made an online digital form for students to sign up for a virtual "Check in with Mr. Wilcher."
"They give me their name. I ask them a question about how they're doing today, how they're feeling today. I put pictures on it so they can relate their pictures to the feeling," Wilcher said.
He gives his students the option to check-in over email, phone or video chat. Vanessa Williams said it worked well with her son Liam.
"My son was excited about it and then we got a call from Mr. Wilcher. He was so happy. We FaceTimed. It was awesome. I really did enjoy that," Williams said.
She appreciates the efforts he's making to help students get through all of the changes.
"It's really important to keep that interaction going, letting him know that his teacher does care about him," Williams said.
"Just remember that I still love you, I miss seeing your smiling faces and we'll be back together very soon," Wilcher said.
Wilcher says he's had over 100 students fill out the check-in form since schools closed last week.
He does daily meal deliveries on the bus routes to check in on his students who aren't able to connect with him online.
You can sign up to check in with Mr. Wilcher www.tinyurl.com/jescounselor.
FACTS NOT FEAR | At 13WMAZ, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the coronavirus. To see our full coverage, visit our site section here: www.13wmaz.com/Coronavirus.
STAY UPDATED | Click here to subscribe to our Midday Minute newsletter and receive the latest headlines and information in your inbox every day.
Have a news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our Facebook page.