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School Reentry Decision
Shane Comer
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

tigerBRINKLEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Brinkley Community and Family,

Last night the board voted for Option 2 school reentry, which is four days' onsite instruction, one day remotely for students only, and the virtual option for parents who have selected to keep their children home. Please know that this decision was made with lots of prayer and many sleepless nights.    

 The majority of the parents and staff voted for blended learning, which equated to Option 2 and 3. The school reentry committee analyzed the survey responses and voted for Option 2 based on the responses and comments from the surveys. Sixty-five parents selected the total virtual option, which will alleviate some of the crowding in the rooms.  

The committee determined that four-day onsite instruction and one-day remote learning was better at this time for the following reasons:

  • Monroe County has had only 33 confirmed cases since March and only 11 active cases now.

  • We have parents who need to work and no one at home to monitor students with the option 3-A/B Day format (we could not ensure that older sibling or cousins would be home with younger students due to high school scheduling) 

  • To combat food insecurity for some of our families

  • Some students need face-to-face instruction and support

  • Some students need the socialization aspect and structure that school provides

  • We have parents who are unable to support online instruction due to work and other reasons

  • Teachers need time to prepare and practice using the learning management system (LMS)

  • We have to be able to ensure a guaranteed and viable curriculum and provide quality on grade-level instruction for all students

  • Students need to be acclimated to the online LMS 

  • 51.4% of teachers feel unprepared to do remote learning. The one-day remote learning for students will allow teachers to practice with online instruction in the event of a school closing

  • Option 2 minimizes the work responsibilities of teachers providing online and face-to-face instruction. (K-4 virtual will look different and more training will be needed for our staff).

We will continue to monitor the CDC, Arkansas Department of Health, Secretary Key, and Governor Hutchinson's guidelines as we approach the start of school. We are preparing a Plan B in the event we need to switch to virtual learning, so this is just the initial plan for reentry.

My priority is to ensure the overall health and wellness of the staff and students, the academic success of our students, and the preparedness of the team. We have ordered bulk PPE supplies and will do all we can to ensure everyone's safety. It will take everyone doing their part in and outside of school to ensure that the spread of COVID-19 does not become a problem.  

All teachers will have a thermometer in their classroom. The principals will work with their staff to create staggered times for transitions, lunch schedules, recess schedules and expectations, and teachers' responsibility for online instruction for students onsite and virtually. Clear face shields have been ordered for all staff and students. Mask will be required of all students ages ten and up. Busses, classrooms offices, and playground equipment will be fogged with a disinfectant that will prevent the virus from living on surfaces for 60 days.  We are preparing to minimize the spread of the virus and putting in place every measure that is feasible.       

       

We ask that you be patient, be positive, and flexible as we continue to plan for reentry. A parent meeting will be held on next Tuesday, July 28, at 10 am and 6 pm for parents to explain the reentry plan.  It will be held in the elementary cafeteria, but seating will be limited to 66% capacity. Everyone can listen in online and put questions in the chatbox. A separate meeting will be held for parents who selected the virtual option. If more sessions are needed, we will host them.

Again, please be patient with us as this is uncharted territory for all of us.  We will make some mistakes this year and we are asking in advance for your forgiveness. 

Superintendent Poole