• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Ridgefield Christian headmaster shares what he's learned after first week of in-person classes


JONESBORO, Ark- Students flooded the classrooms at Ridgefield Christian last Wednesday for the first day of school.

Now, almost a week in, head of school matt brewer explains what challenges and changes have occurred, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The biggest challenge is keeping our safety distance,” says Ridgefield Christian School Headmaster Matt Brewer. “The little ones especially it’s hard to explain to them why we have to be distant. Even these small short moments when they want to be near their friends or their buddies, we have to really preach safety and consistency with our kids. There will be times when they come out of the classroom without a mask on and we’ll re-direct them. It’s just forgetting, it’s new and so it’s just building those good habits.”

Brewer says they’ve put clear dividers in between desks to help students to continue to communicate but decrease the spread of germs, as well as taking other percautions.

He says it took students a few days to get adjusted.

So far, brewer says no student has come to school with a fever or have had to be quarantined.

He credits the small size of Ridgefield along with staff, students and parents also taking percautions.

With many districts about to go back, brewer has a message for principals.

“Follow your procedures you know,” says Brewer. “You wrote a policy and you believe in it. Don’t change after one day unless it thoroughly needs to be addressed. Talk communicate, be open with one another. We’ve had teachers come and say, 'oh hey maybe this would be better and safer,' wonderful to hear teachers doing those things.”

Even with school already starting, Brewer says they still have multiple parents interested in enrolling their child in Ridgefield.

Something Brewer says was not surprising to him with the school offering smaller classes and one-on-one support.

But, with increased interest, brewer says they will put a cap number on classes to keep everyone safe.

“Booking tours and adding to our numbers. We enrolled multiple students on the first day of school,” says Brewer. “We have more that are getting processed and their paperwork together. It’s not about dollars and cents for us, it’s about safety and relationship with that kid. It’s who we are.”

Ridgefield has invested in more cleaning equipment, including a UV lighting to kill bacteria, multiple hand sanitizing stations and a cleaning system for their playground.

Brewer also credits teachers and staff with taking on many roles to maintain their COVID-19 safety procedures for students.

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