Benton School District Superintendent Dr. Mike Skelton has issued a statement to parents and students concerning the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

“I know the 2019-2020 school year and the current times with the COVID-19 virus are very challenging,” Skelton said in the statement. “In my 27 years of education, I can honestly say it has been the most unique and challenging of my career. With the many uncertainties around us, I want you to know that the entire staff of Benton Public Schools remains dedicated to the safety and betterment of your child.”

Skelton Mug

According to Skelton, state and federal government guidance on the upcoming school year remains in flux and the district does not yet have a picture of what the restrictions and procedures might be, but the district desires to keeps the schools open unless safety is compromised. 

“With that being said, parents will have an option on whether they wish to have their students learn from home or send them to school,” Skelton said. “This decision will stay in effect for an amount of time yet to be determined. We will be seeking your decision on this matter as we get closer to school and more information is known. When the school buildings are open, we fully anticipate bus transportation provided for those who usually ride the bus.”

With no clear picture of how the next school year will be handled, Skelton stated that the district remains committed to learning and providing services for students. He also added that the district has been seeking advice and feedback from parents, staff and students on how the district can be better prepared should the upcoming school year play out like the spring semester.

Each school in the district is in the process of forming committees comprised of staff, parents and students to determine the best decisions for each school. Those who wish to participate are encouraged to contact the principal of the campus of the committee they wish to join.

“While this last year and summer have been very stressful and challenging, I want to personally thank you for the care and support you have shown to the district,” Skelton said. “Without a supportive community, this district would not be as great as it is. I look forward to seeing the students on Aug. 13, and, as always,  it’s a great day to be a Panther.”

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