• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

'It’s good to be back' St. Bernards Senior Life Centers reopen after 16 month covid-19 closure

JONESBORO, Ark- One regional senior center reopened this week after being closed since 2020.

The St. Bernards Senior Life Center officially reopened its doors Tuesday, July 6th after, being closed since March 2020.

Residents and staff say they’re excited to be back together.

“We’ve had a lot of old friends come back to our site, not just in Jonesboro but our other locations as well. It’s been a wonderful time for me, to meet new folks and for all of our members to reunite,” says Christopher Clark, coordinator of the senior life center.

Members were welcomed back with cake, drinks, and a Hawaiian theme.

While all nine centers were closed for 16 months, that didn’t stop staff from continuing their mission.

During its closure, the center distributed meals in a drive-thru style for members.

One long-time participant says she is excited to be back with friends and catch up on lost time.

“Oh, I’m just so, so happy to see everybody…it brings tears…it’s good to be back. It’s good to be back,” says Barbara McGuire.

It’s not just fellow members McGuire says she’s happy to see.

"The staff has just been wonderful. Always supportive. If we have needs, we can go to them at any time. And what our needs are, they’ll listen,” she says.

Members can take advantage of meals, a workout room, and numerous games.

St. Bernards has nine senior life centers located in Caraway, Harrisburg, Jonesboro, Lepanto, Lake City, Monette, Marked Tree, Trumann, and Wynne.

With covid-19 cases rising, Clark says they're taking extra precautions like increase cleaning to keep everyone safe.

“We have each person fill out a questionnaire each day before they come in. We also take their temperature and keep our distance. For our vaccinated members, they can show their vaccine card and, they do not have to wear a mask,” Clark says.

All nine locations did reopen this week besides the Monette campus. They will reopen later in July.


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