Local Schools Update Virus Response Plans

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Educators continue to develop plans of action for homeschooling as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of classes for the remainder of the current school year. Administrators throughout the state, and nation, have been tasked with providing lesson plans and guidelines for the remainder of the year, as thousands of students remain at home due to the outbreak.

Rector Schools

In an update last week, the Rector School District reported the Alternative Method of Instruction (AMI) packets for the period ending April 17 were mailed out April 3, and those who did not receive one should contact the school.

Drop-off for the first 20 days of AMI packets, covering the period of March 16 through April 17, will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, April 20 and 21. School officials noted drop off boxes will be provided for each grade at the front of both the high school and elementary, and the packets should be left at the proper location.

They indicated the next set of AMI packets will be mailed out on Friday, and will cover the remainder of the school year. The drop-off for those packets will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, May 14 and 15, in front of the respective building.

School officials were also developing a WiFi network for patrons, which will be accessible on the campuses. They noted patrons will be allowed to drive onto school property, but must remain in their vehicles. They also indicated the WiFi password would be posted on the high school marquee.

The food distribution effort is also continuing on a daily basis, with breakfast and lunch served. Meanwhile, the bus route distribution being held beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays. Five days of meals will also be distributed during the lunch hours on that day.

Students were also reminded that graduation is postponed indefinitely, as the district continues to follow the guidance of the Government and CDC. All extracurricular activities are also canceled for the remainder of the year, along with summer baseball and softball.

Students and parents are reminded that Rector teachers are available by email, and the principals may be reached by phone during the week at 870 595-3151. RHS principal Nate Henderson's extension is 1005 and RES principal Mark Manchester's extension is 1011.

Piggott Schools

Students and parents of Piggott Schools were also updated this week as the coronavirus continues to dictate the world of education. In a letter from the campus principals, an outline for the final weeks of the school year was reviewed.

Along with the letter, students were sent the latest AMI packet which will cover days 21 to 25, along with their report cards for the third nine weeks.

“Please continue to stay at home and practice social distancing guidelines,” they offered. “Protect yourselves and others. Hopefully, we can resume life as it was before the pandemic soon.”

Noting they had received guidance from the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, the administration asked for “patience and understanding as we try to work our way through these unprecedented times.”

In reporting that the packet would include AMI days 21 to 25, they indicated that Day 25 would correlate to April 27, on the calendar. “We are going to continue AMI instruction through May 15, however we are going to change after AMI day 25,” they explained.

Under the new plan, additional information was provided to each grade level with instructions for the remainder of the days and weeks involved. This included a specific plan for kindergarten students, along with detailed exercises and practice for each of the other grade levels involved.

The administrators noted a decision on how, and where, the completed AMI packets will be collected will be made after May 1. At that time all library and text books would also need to be turned-in.

As had been indicated before, the principals again reminded parents that the AMI work cannot hurt their student's grades.

“AMI packets will not negatively affect your child's grades, but an be used to improve them if needed,” they offered. “Final grades will be calculated based on the third nine weeks grades, along with any AMI work that can help your student's grades.”

Teachers and administrators remain available each week by email, or by calling either PES or PHS. Additional information is also available by calling the administration offices at 870 598-2572.

Piggott Schools officials also indicated there would be a designated time for students to pick up their personal belongings, which would be announced in the days to come. And, as with other schools, all extracurricular activities and graduation have been put on indefinite hold for the time being.

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