SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — It’s the first day of school and students across the region will pack up their backpacks and head to class Monday morning.
Har-Ber High School, Principal Paul Griep says this past week students stopped by to pick up their ID’s and schedules and he could feel the excitement.
He says that excitement feeds the teachers and staff and they are ready to provide kids with the highest level of education while keeping them safe during the pandemic.
Now for the Springdale Public Schools masks are optional for staff, and students grade 8 – 12. It is required for students K – 7 until Sept 14.
Principal Griep says kids will be reminded to keep their distance but adds that Har-Ber High School is pretty large. He says kids have plenty of space to spread out and there’s lots of outdoor space for breaks and to eat lunch.
Moreover, vaccinations for those 12 and over are going to be highly encouraged.
“I think of my own family, my own son, you know for example. He is a student and he realizes, hey, I’m involved in athletics. If I get the vaccine and if I’m not showing symptoms then I won’t have to quarantine. So there are incentives like that for kids who want to be engaged in those activities,” said Griep.
He says teachers will maintain seating charts in classrooms for effective contact tracing. He adds vaccination status and mask-wearing will determine who will need to quarantine.
Moreover, the custodial staff is making sure classrooms and high touchpoints are sanitized regularly.
The district will be sharing daily COVID-19 case numbers on their website, and also have a form for families to self-report positive cases.
Griep says he knows the pandemic has been tough on some students academically. He says teachers and staff are committed to address and help students overcome any learning gaps.
Griep says there is a big focus on building strong relationships between teachers and their students.
He says it’s about keeping kids engaged, and making sure every student feels connected to their work and to their school community, so they want to learn.
kids who are behind will get the extra attention they need through their response to intervention or RTI program.
“It’s kind of a during the day tutoring is what we actually do…. Because we realize that if a kid falls behind and we don’t do something about it, it’s just going to have a chain reaction. So we want to catch them in real-time and get them caught up… And always check for understanding,” said Griep.
There is also an after-school program available for students who need to make up any credits. Tutoring will also be available during that time.