By P.J. Tracy
The South Pike County School District has released a two-pronged approach to student education in the upcoming school year.
“We would like to thank all students, parents and guardians for their efforts in continuing the education of our students from Match 13 to the end of the second semester. It has been a challenging time for all. Our staff and faculty are certainly ready to get our students back to school on August 13,” said a release by the school.
The release states that due to many unanswered questions regarding the opening of school in the COVID-19 pandemic, students will have the option of two means of education.
The first is an “on-site” blended learning or traditional classroom education, in which all state-required safety protocols will be in place. In this choice the classroom setting will be augmented with technology-based approaches that will provide students with some face to face instruction. In this choice it is stated that students and teachers both would stay prepared for the possibility of a more digital based learning model should the Arkansas Department of Health mandate such a move.
The second option will be “all-online” virtual learning, which will require the students to have internet access. The instruction will be a combination of local educators and other state provided virtual solutions. In this option students will be expected to be “actively engaged and participate in educational activities for a majority of the regular school week.”
In the virtual learning choice, grades will be given regularly and participation/assignments will be evaluated to the same level as if students were on campus in the traditional setting. If the virtual option is selected, the student is locked into that choice through the end of the first nine-weeks at a minimum.
“We fully expect to be given more detailed guidance from the Department of Education, however, South Pike County Schools will reopen for on-site instruction in the fall,” the release states.
In an effort to provide flexibility to families, the two choices are available because “SPCSD is dedicated to meeting the needs of every family in our district … while we feel on-site instruction provides the best environment for learning, we will also provide a virtual solution for families who feel more comfortable with on-line learning.”
The district said more information will be provided in the coming weeks and each family will be given the opportunity to notify the district of their choice for the fall semester. See rattlers.org for updated information as it becomes available.
Prom off, graduation on
One end of school tradition will be fulfilled, while another one has been claimed as another casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was announced by the school recently that due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions for large groups, it would not be feasible for the Murfreesboro High School Prom to be held July 11.
“We love and miss our students and wanted to provide this opportunity, however their safety is our top priority,” said a post on the school’s website.
It was, however, also announced that commencement ceremonies for 2020 graduates had been approved by the Arkansas Departments of Education and Health and would occur on Saturday, July 18, 10:30 a.m. at Rattler Stadium.
Originally scheduled for the activity room, it was stated the change will allow for more attendance.
All attendees will be required to wear a mask and hand sanitizer will be available at points of entrance.
Both sides of the bleachers will be utilized in order to further comply with social distancing guidelines. Graduates will be centered on the field facing the west end zone.
Household groups may sit together, but it is asked that six feet be maintained between groups, accomplished by seating in an every-other-row fashion in the bleachers.