Decatur School District prepared for short week


DECATUR, Ark. (KFTA) — Decatur Schools closed Friday (Jan. 31) and Monday (Feb. 3) due to a large number of students and staff out sick with the flu, and on Wednesday, February 5, students were dismissed early due to the weather.

We were in the situation where we may have to start re-teaching a couple of things and you can’t start new material if you’ve got 10 to 15 students out in one class.

Steven Watkins, Superintendent, Decatur Schools

Decatur Superintendent Steven Watkins said the school took that time off to sanitize all of the classrooms and buses.

Now that school’s back in session, the staff is going an extra mile.

“We’re taking the extra precaution of wiping down all of our desks in the afternoon when schools out,” Watkins said. “We’re taking precautions with our sports equipment by doing likes not sharing water bottles, towels, and things like that.”

But even after all of that, the school could face more cancellations from a different cause.

“Obviously we want students at school and we want our teachers to be at school, but we have to be under safe conditions,” Watkins said.

If Decatur has to cancel classes due to weather, the school can take an alternative methods of instruction (AMI) day — where students get a packet of work to complete and turn back in when school resumes.

This also means the district doesn’t have to make up the day.

“That would leave us with two AMI days left to get us through the year before we have to start extending the calendar at the end of the year,” Watkins said.

Watkins said he knows school closures may be an inconvenience to parents, but at the end of the day, it’s all about safety and student performance.

“If inclement weather or the flu outweigh the benefits of being in school, we will go ahead and close school for that day and wait for better day,” he said.

Decatur school officials will be checking roads at 4 a.m. on Thursday, February 6, and will decide then if class needs to be canceled.

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