BENTON, Ark. — Wednesday Secretary of Education Jonny Key said schools must allow for students to be there for the entire school week, but Benton Schools will initially not start that way out of an abundance of caution.
Benton schools will be splitting their student population in half for the first two weeks of school students with the last name A through M will be at school on Monday and Thursday N through Z will be Tuesday and Friday and Wednesday will be a cleaning when students are not in the building, it will be a virtual day.
“We feel that if we can start that way and kind of ease kids in the best way to show our support for students or staff and make sure that the health and well-being of them is our utmost importance,” said Public Relations Isabella Bradley for Benton Schools.
The Department of Education is allowing this because it is only temporary.
“After the first two weeks of school we will reevaluate before that Labor Day holiday will reevaluate and see where we’re going from there,” said Bradley.
Benton Junior High Principal Chad Pitts says these first two weeks will be about more than just what classroom expectations and when the first test is.
“Also allows us to teach them the things that are different you know and how to wear masks, how to walk and hallways and that’s where we try to keep their interactions and the virus spread to a minimum,” said Pitts.
Pitts says his school will be looking at what works and what does not. Those first two weeks then we will evaluate the situation at the Junior High. As much unease there is about returning to school he wants parents and his staff to understand one thing.
“We’re there with them, this is different for all of us and we are all going to do the best we can,” said Pitts.
Pitts says they will remind their students about social guidelines and says they will provide teachers the resources they need to sanitize. He understands it’s a different time currently but doesn’t want COVID to dominate the learning environment.
“There’s a lot of things that are new because of the virus and that sort of thing but at some point, we’re gonna have to shift our focus from virus back on to learning,” said Pitts.
Now Bradley also tells us that if there is a home with siblings who have different last names than you can arrange for them to be at school on the same day. Schedules and class assignments should be out by the end of next week.