Bauxite Public Schools is planning a districtwide virtual day Oct. 20.
Director of Academic Affairs Leann Pinkerton said the district has two reasons for holding the virtual day.
"The first is to give our teachers a chance to prepare digital content," she said.
Pinkerton explained that many teachers are teaching both onsite and virtual students and are struggling with the workload. The district has worked to give teachers more planning time to help, but has found it is not enough.
Pinkerton said teachers are coming in early and staying late to prepare, partially because the time it takes to upload videos.
"Adding a virtual day will allow them to create content, upload videos, Zoom with virtual students and communicate with parents about missing work," she said.
The second reason is districts have been asked by the Arkansas Department of Education to prepare if they might have to pivot to virtual learning.
"Allowing students, parents and teachers to practice virtual instruction before virtual instruction is actually required can only help us when and if the time comes," Pinkerton said.
So far, only one grade has had to switch to virtual learning due to quarantined staff.
If this virtual day goes well, Pinkerton said the district is looking into the possibility of more virtual days in the future. Teachers are being asked to keep a log of what they accomplish on virtual days to help the district determine if a virtual day is beneficial.
The district also understands that not all families have care at home for their children for a virtual day. Students who need to come onsite that day will be able to do so. They will work on digital lessons under the supervision of paraprofessionals.
Students kindergarten through fourth grade who do not have a Chromebook at home will be provided one on or before Oct. 15. Older students should already have them.
The district does have Wi-Fi-enabled buses if parents need to park near them to download work. Some Chromebook assignments can be downloaded and done offline, Pinkerton said.
Buses will not run Oct. 20.
If a parent needs a meal for their child, they can contact Kristy Ammons at 501-557-5254.
Oct. 16 and 19 are scheduled as Fall Break days.
After the virtual day, the district hopes to receive feedback from parents about how they feel the virtual day went and what did and did not work.
Parents with questions can call their child's school.
•Pine Haven Elementary — 501-557-5361.
•Bauxite Middle School — 501-557-5491.
•Bauxite High School — 501-557-5303.
•Miner Academy — 501-557-5000.