WEINER, Ark. (KAIT) - The Harrisburg School District hosted it’s first of three public school meetings, Monday.
The district invited parents to hear more about how they will handle the upcoming school year in the middle of a pandemic.
The district says this is the start of many town halls where they will be pushing transparency and the meeting was led by the incoming superintendent, Chris Ferrell.
“Just to update you, we will have several options for the school year coming up,” Ferrell told the crowd of parents.
While some parents sat in on the meeting, over 100 also watched via Facebook Live.
The conversation focused heavily on COVID-19 and what the incoming school year will look like.
The district says there will be three options for most students.
Students can learn in the classroom or they can learn remotely via video at the same time and pace of peers in the classroom, and there will be a Harrisburg virtual academy offered for those who would like to choose a complete home-school option and not participate in on-site instruction.
There is also a small guideline with those options. Harrisburg Elementary (K-4) and Weiner Elementary (K-6) will have the opportunity to choose from those three options.
Harrisburg Middle School (5-8) and Harrisburg High school students (9-12), will be able to choose from in-classroom learning or the Harrisburg Virtual Academy.
Remote instruction for Harrisburg Middle and High School will only be used for those students who are instructed on-site in the event that district pivots to off-site instruction a child is out of school for COVID related illness.
If there comes a time where students have to be quarantined at home, similar to what happened in the spring, Harrisburg School District teachers will then pivot to remote instruction. This will be the use of teacher taught video instruction with online resources .
Harrisburg School District teachers will administer in-person and remote learning.
The virtual academy will be a curriculum offered to parents who want to home-school their children all free to students.
Ferrell said these conversations must start now because the pandemic is not going away anytime soon.
“Right now, there’s a lot of apprehension and fear. There’s a lot of stories depending on which media outlet that you use out there and a lot of that is built around creating fear and we just felt like being transparent and having these meetings very early and we are going to have them often, allows our stakeholders to have an active engagement in the learning process,” Ferrell said.
Ferrell along with the district’s school nurses confirmed there will be daily screenings of students and their health.
Those arriving by car will be screened in the car-line.
There will also be monitors on some buses for students to be checked at bus stops.
For the buses that do not have monitors, the student will be checked before entering the school.
As far as social distancing on buses, Ferrell says as of now there are 14 routes and they will consider adding more if needed.
Weiner Elementary Principal, Pam Hogue also confirmed if the state guideline stays the same, students kindergarten through fourth grade will not be required to wear a mask.
The school district will utilize Weiner High School for a lot of on-site testing space for times where students will have to come on campus.
The district also plans to be completely one-to-one this fall so that all students will be equipped with devices to complete their work at home remotely.
Ferrell says everyone needs to be on the same page from parents, the school and each city to make this all work.
If you were unable to join the Facebook Live or attend Monday’s meeting, there are two more meetings this week:
June 30- Harrisburg Center for the Arts, 6 pm
July 1- Harrisburg Center for the Arts, 6 pm
Meetings are also streamed via Facebook Live.
You can also visit their Facebook for daily updates and answers here.