Green Forest board discusses plans for returning to school

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

By Haley Schichtl

The Green Forest School Board held a special meeting Monday, June 29, to approve handbook changes and new high school and middle school schedules for next school year.

Superintendent Matt Summers told the board that the school will follow guidelines outlined in the Arkansas Ready for Learning plan, but it still has a lot to figure out in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Let’s say I’ve tested positive, and I’m asymptomatic, but I can’t be here. How do we run the school remotely with me not being here?” Summers said. “If the central office was shut down, how do we pay bills and how do we get out paychecks?”

Summers said the school is still unsure of whether masks will be required and what other measures will have to be taken.

“We need to be fully ready to go online or blended, at a moment’s notice, because it could change that fast,” Summers said.

The plan also includes solutions like extending time between lunch periods so that the cafeterias can be thoroughly cleaned and finding ways to limit interactions between classes and travel time in the hallways.

The school board also approved the plan for middle and high school students to make up for lost time in the 2019-2020 school year.

Students will use an online curriculum, Apex learning, to finish learning what was not covered in March through May when schools were closed to on-site instruction. The curriculum covers the four core subjects: science, social studies, math and English.

“Students would remain in their sixth-period classes. Students in P.E. classes will report to middle and high school libraries,” Summers said. “We would still offer tutoring with approved tutors before the start of the school year for before school, after school and at lunch ... for all students grades 6 through 12.”

The handbook changes include updated policies on tardiness, harassment and homework.

The board also approved the resignation of senior high cheer coach Shilo Evans and the additions of Tyler Harness as head junior high and senior high boys track coach and Eric Perez as head boys soccer and cross country coach.

The board approved the transfer of Carla Stricklin to special education, the creation of a position for middle school and high school social studies teacher and the hiring of Rebecca Usrey as a middle school literacy teacher.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, August 17.

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