Bentonville Schools release first guidelines for reopening in August

Northwest Arkansas News

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Bentonville Schools released its first guidelines on Friday for reopening classes in August.

Options available to students in grades K-12 will be blended or virtual.

Blended is the new “traditional school” where students will report to school buildings to learn but both teachers and students will be prepared to learn at home if illness or inclement weather necessitates. 

Virtual learning is a parent choice where students learn remotely full-time. If you choose Bentonville Schools Virtual, your student cannot return to Blended until the completion of that semester and will be assigned to your zoned school if space is available. 

We’ll not offer a college setting schedule in which students report to school for three days and learn remotely for two days. We recognize the incredible challenge for childcare that might present.”

The Bentonville Schools Reopening Task Force follows the Arkansas Department of Health guideliens and the Arkansas Ready for Learning report issued by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education.

On Friday, the task force issued its first recommendations to the district:

Face Coverings:

Requirements for physical distancing may not be feasible in all situations in every school facility or on school buses, but all efforts possible will be made to observe physical distancing. Face coverings will be required when staff and students (fourth grade and above) return to school. Where physical distancing measures can be implemented, face coverings may be removed.

  • All students (fourth grade and above) and staff will wear a face covering when riding a school bus or district transportation. Face coverings are recommended for students under grade four since physical distancing will not be feasible.
  • All students (fourth grade and above) and staff will wear face masks when physical distancing of six feet is not possible. (School entry, exit, classroom, hall passing, bathroom).
  • If students maintain physical distancing on the playground, face coverings will not be required.
  • Students and staff may remove the face covering while eating meals or snacks.
  • Staff and presenters may remove face coverings while teaching if 12 feet distancing is maintained.
  • Face coverings should not be used on anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious; or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.

Food Service:

  • Breakfast and lunch will be served in a combination of the cafeteria at 50% capacity and in the classroom. Physical spacing will be organized for both areas with proper markings to show where to line up and sit. Students will alternate between eating in their classroom and cafeteria on assigned days.
  • Proper sanitation of all areas will be completed after each meal.
  • Procedures will not allow students to pick up utensils, self-serve, or share food. Parents are strongly encouraged to open an online payment for student meals here so cash is not exchanged.
  • Please send a water bottle with your child as water fountains will not be available.

Health Screening Protocols:

  • Parents will be expected to screen their children using this tool prior to entering any school bus or building. 
  • All staff and visitors entering the building will be screened prior to entering the facility/bus.
  • Entry to the building will be limited to admit only essential business. 

You may submit questions to the task force related to school opening here. You will want to check the FAQ link here to keep up with the latest school information related to reopening.

Parents will receive an email asking to select either Blended or Virtual learning for their children by July 1.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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