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More NWA schools shift to online learning

by NWA Democrat-Gazette | January 12, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. | Updated January 12, 2022 at 4:34 p.m.
Students in a classroom at an elementary school in Fayetteville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/FILE PHOTO)

The Fayetteville, Siloam Springs, Elkins and Lincoln school districts are moving to all online learning Thursday and Friday, the districts announced Wednesday.

Each of the districts plans to return to in-person learning Tuesday following the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., national holiday on Monday. Thursday and Friday will be considered alternative method of instruction days.

The transition to online learning is necessary due to the high number of covid-19-related staff and student absences, according to posts on the school districts’ websites and social media accounts.

In Fayetteville, students will use the internet with a district-provided device to access education anytime. Teachers will provide pre-scheduled live classroom events via Zoom for instruction; students will be marked absent if they do not attend the scheduled Zoom sessions, according to the district’s website.

Fayetteville student meals will be available for pick-up Thursday only from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. outside each student’s school. Parents or guardians may pick up one free meal pack per student that contains two breakfasts and two lunches per student Thursday. Students do not need to be present for pick-up. Families with children at more than one campus should plan to pick up all meals at one school site that is most convenient for them, according to the district.

In Siloam Springs, students also are expected to log in daily, participate in lessons and complete assignments, the district’s Facebook post stated.

“This pivot to remote learning is necessary due to the high number of Covid-related student and especially staff absences. Over 20% of our instructional staff members are out today, with over half of the vacancies unfilled by substitutes. Providing adequate supervision, instruction, and desired Covid safeguards have become major concerns,” the Siloam Springs post stated.

Earlier this week, the Prairie Grove and Greenland school districts also announced switches to online learning for all of their schools, with intentions to reopen to in-person learning on Tuesday.

Several other Northwest Arkansas schools have switched or are switching to remote learning for the rest of the week.

Parson Hills Elementary and Sonora Middle schools in Springdale will transition to online instruction Thursday and Friday, according to a Springdale district news release Wednesday.

Staff absences and a substitute teacher shortage means classrooms cannot be adequately covered. The decision to transition to alternative methods of instruction — or remote learning — is made on a school-by-school basis, according to the release.

Jones Elementary School became the first Springdale school to make the shift when it transitioned to remote learning Tuesday.

Springdale students have district-provided computers so they can learn online with their teachers, the release stated. Information on staff and student covid-19 cases is available online at www.sdale.org/page/covid.

In addition, Springdale and Har-Ber high schools informed families Wednesday that students have the option of learning at home Thursday and Friday — again, due to the increasing number of student and teacher absences. They will not be counted absent if they choose to learn remotely, according to letters from the principals.

The Arkansas Arts Academy school board decided at a board meeting Tuesday to pivot to remote learning on Thursday and Friday, according to a social media post. Remote learning for the school’s students will continue through Jan. 21.

The students will receive Chromebooks on Wednesday, the post added.

Print Headline: Schools in Springdale, Rogers shift to online learning

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