Arkansas State has sharing their plans for students after the holiday break, we decided to reach out to several school districts on their plan of action.
Today I talked with Pocahontas Superintendent and Associate Superintendent from Jonesboro Public School on their plans after the holidays. Right now, things will stay the same but will be monitored heavily.
“We always got the option of going 100% virtual because all of our students have Chromebooks,” Pocahontas Superintendent, Jerry Martens said.
The Pocahontas District has seen a few numbers in October. But then in the middle of October they were having more teachers test positive and needing to be quarantined.
This week number have picked back up leading to a kindergarten and 5th grade class having to be quarantined. Martens says their last option they want to take is going fully virtual.
“Communication is key. Our parents have been great with communicating with us when either their student has been around someone or close contact with a family member or if they’ve gotten tested and I feel certain they are going to continue that,” Jonesboro Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent, William Cheatham said.
A bigger issue for both districts has been the ability to have enough substitute teachers.
“We still need a large number of substitutes because what we’re having to do because the numbers are so low we have to use some of our paraprofessionals to watch classrooms while the teachers are teaching virtually from home,” Martens said.
According to from the CDC, they encourage families to host small gathering and remind guests to stay home if they feel sick or has encountered someone with COVID-19. Limit the number of people serving food and have small outdoor dinners with friends or family.
“People are, a likely better term, COVID tired and people are need interaction and we’re seeing that right now,” Cheatham said.
“We’re all social creators and especially kids and they need to be around their peers, they need to be around their friends and to get the emotional contact and social contact their age. So yes, it’s very important that even if the teachers have to teach virtually, we’re able to keep them in the classroom,” Martens said.
If anyone would like to help these districts with their need for more substitute teachers, you can visit ess.com to apply for a position at any of the school in state.