Southside School District officials spend summer listening for help with reopening plans

Updated: Jul. 22, 2020 at 9:35 PM CDT
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SOUTHSIDE, Ark. (KAIT) - More and more school districts are gearing up to welcome students back this fall, releasing plans and guidelines on how exactly that will look.

The Southside School District has plans to release its guidelines July 30.

Superintendent Roger Rich says the district has planned for everything that could happen and as of now, they have four models for returning to school.

“We knew that we weren’t prepared at the end of spring. We were just trying to keep kids engaged and keep working. We know that can’t be the case this fall,” Rich said.

Following the Department of Health guidelines, those four models were done with the help of other districts, teachers and more importantly, parent and student input.

Rich says they got to work on these plans as soon as school let out for the spring.

They started with surveys and phone calls to parents on what they would like to see and with those responses, he says they were able to develop a lot of the plans.

“What we found out more than anything is our students need our teachers. They want to hear from them, they want to see them. However, that might be virtually, face-to-face, they need their teachers. That’s what we kept hearing from surveys with kids. We got to make sure they’re there. We got to be creative, innovative, however, we need to deliver instruction,” Rich said.

For those who will be delivering that instruction, Rich says he meets with all of the teachers weekly to make sure their fears are eased, and they are prepared for what’s to come.

He has also listened to other superintendents via Zoom session weekly with the Administration Association, that includes superintendents all over the state. He says this is not a time for secrets and many are sharing and implementing things at their school districts that others are doing.

Superintendent Rich says this has been a time to listen and they are using the voices of those who will be directly impacted as their guidance.

“There’s a long time between now and August 24 and as you mention early, if you aren’t planning now, you’re going to be way behind. We’re listening to them and definitely using their voice as we go forward,” Rich said.

The official guidelines will officially be published on July 30 on the school’s website and social media pages.

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