The Bauxite School District plans to offer both virtual and blended instruction options for its students returning for the fall semester.
"This will probably be our most challenging year yet," said Leann Pinkerton, director of academic affairs. "We are in a situation we have never been in before, and none of us were trained in how to handle a pandemic gracefully."
Pinkerton said 87 percent of students have chosen the blended learning option. They will be on campus five days a week. Most of the teachers will teach both virtual and blended students.
Online learners will be permitted to take part in athletics.
In accordance with the directive from Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the first day of school is planned Aug. 24.
All students ages 10 and older will be required to wear a mask. The district plans to provide one cloth mask per student and staff member. Parents are recommended to have extras.
"We know masks can be hot and uncomfortable. We understand," according to a Facebook post regarding masks. "However, we also know that consistent use of masks and other face coverings is one of the best things we can do to protect members of our community from COVID-19."
The post went on to explain the virus is spread through respiratory droplets such as from a cough, sneeze or talking. A mask helps prevent someone who is infected, but may not know it, from spreading the virus.
The district recommends the mask be more than one layer, as well as washable, though paper or surgical masks are acceptable. The mask should fit snuggly.
Masks should not be worn on the forehead or neck.
Students will be required to wear a mask while riding the school bus.
Teachers will determine if students are separated enough to safely remove masks in the classroom.
Visitors will not be permitted beyond the office.
All surfaces will be cleaned between students during the day and after school daily. Students will wipe down their desks between periods. The district will provide masks, sanitizer and cleaning supplies for teachers.
Buses will also be disinfected daily.
The district still plans to offer recess with increased supervision. There will be fewer students on the playground at a time.
Each classroom will be spaced as much as possible.
The cafeterias will be social distanced and the district plans to have increased lunch periods.
"We care about our students and our staff members and want the best for each and every one of them," Pinkerton said.
She requests that parents with questions or concerns contact administrators by email or call the school so they can be addressed.
More information and the 2020-21 calendar can be found on the Bauxite Public Schools Facebook page or at www.bauxiteminers.org.