SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/ KFTA) — With start of a new school year just one week away, many districts across the state now face a challenging return to the classroom.
Springdale Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Jared Cleveland joined KNWA Today & Fox 24 Morning news to give some insight as to the district’s plans for the 2021-2022 academic year.
“Last year at this time, we were worried about having school. Worried if we could even stay in for a couple weeks. We found out that we can. We did it through the resiliency of our children and our staff and really our community as a whole.” said Cleveland.
In an effort to meet the needs of students in the face of uncertainty during the Coronavirus pandemic, Springdale Schools developed a K-5 virtual learning program through the Don Tyson School of innovation.
“It’s a very high quality program that students and staff are still engaged in. We’ve expanded that even to K-12. We got up to as many as 3,400 students last year and it slowly trickled back down. We have about 600-800 at this moment that virtual program.” said Cleveland.
“I know with the new variant coming forward, people a little bit apprehensive and some are choosing to go that virtual way of education.” he added.
Another concern for parents ahead of the school year includes mask and/ or face coverings protocols. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, August 6, temporarily blocking the state from enforcing its ban on mask mandates after lawmakers left the prohibition in place despite a rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The Springdale School District will hold a meeting on Tuesday, August 10, at 5P.M. Cleveland anticipates the School Board will likely address the recent ruling.
“Right now our focus in on making sure that students are safe and that they’re here, meaning engaged and present and that they respect on another’s choices.” said Cleveland.
To learn more about the Springdale Public Schools, visit the district’s website.