Dear Panther Nation:
The faculty and staff of Heber Springs Schools would like to thank each and every parent and student for how you handled the unexpected closing of our school during the spring semester. Your adaptability and commitment to our schools and students are very much appreciated. The Heber Springs School District believes the best education for our students is a face to face setting utilizing Heber Springs staff. As education continues to evolve, our goal will be to meet the specific needs of our students. Below is a list of items and important information in regard to reopening for the 2020-2021 school year. Hopefully, this will answer many of the most frequently asked questions.
A traditional approach of face to face and digital learning for K-12 students.
Learning that occurs at home or another site away from the school campus. Remote learning will occur online, and a contract will be signed by the parent/guardian and the student in regards to work and attendance. We will follow the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines for state assessments, which could require students to return to campus for testing.
Learning that combines on-site and remote learning for K-12 students based upon a case by case scenario.
Arkansas Activities Association
Arkansas Department of Health
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the first day of school?
Students’ first day of school will be Monday, August 24, 2020. With the adjustment to the first day of school, we also made adjustments to the previous school calendar. You can access the 2020-2021 school calendar here.
Will we have an Open House for all schools?
Yes, we will have a modified version of Open House. Typically, Open House runs the week before the first day of school. More information will be released closer to time.
Will bus transportation still be provided?
Yes, the district will provide bus transportation for all students. The DESE states all students age 10 and over are required to wear face coverings when riding the bus. The district will not deny a student transportation if they are not wearing a face mask. No changes are planned for bus schedules or bus stops. Buses will be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
How normal will the day be for a student, and what precautions will be taken?
We will continue to have school in a traditional manner with increased safety precautions. Students age 10 and over are required to wear face coverings according to the Governor Hutchinson’s executive order, wash or sanitize their hands regularly, and to bring their own water bottle. Water bottle filling stations are available in every building. We will refrain from sharing supplies to the greatest extent possible. If you are uncomfortable with face coverings, you will want to consider our Remote Panther option until the executive order is lifted.
Will students attend school every day, or will we have some type of alternative schedule?
We plan for students to attend school every day.
How will attendance be taken?
We will follow the Heber Springs School District Attendance Policy with special consideration given to circumstances due to COVID-19.
Will students still have extra classes like PE, art, music, guidance, and library?
Yes, students will continue to participate in activity classes, check out library books, receive guidance, and gifted instruction.
What about athletics, band, theatre, and choir?
We will follow the ADH and the AAA guidelines regarding all activities.
Where will my student eat lunch?
Because of the current ADH guidelines regarding limited capacities in cafeterias, we are preparing to adjust lunch schedules and/or use alternative areas if needed. Other measures will include sanitation and revised meal distribution protocols. All cafeteria staff will be certified in ServSafe, which is intense food safety training.
How will you help fill any gaps my student has from the previous year?
Curriculum teams have worked to revise the curriculum so that missed essential standards will be addressed when students return. Additionally, K-12 students will be assessed in September to determine individual strengths and deficits. These assessments will determine if students need additional support. Missed skills from a previous course will be embedded in the next course in the sequence. For example, a student enrolled in 8th-grade math would have 7th-grade math skills not addressed last year embedded in their course. Grades 6-12 will still provide before and after school Homework Help throughout the year.
Will our students have the same arrival and dismissal times?
Right now, our plan is to continue with the same arrival and dismissal times. Students may be kept in different areas until the first bell rings. As we get more guidance from the ADH, this may be adjusted.
What advice do you have for students with special needs (autism, asthma, panic attacks, anxiety, etc.) or students with weakened immune systems and pre-existing conditions?
The district will be prepared to accommodate students through both on-site and remote instruction with special needs. Our Special Education staff will be taking extra precautions when working with students. If parents have concerns about their students who may be at high-risk because of COVID-19, they may explore the virtual learning option which allows the student to continue their education from the safety of their own home.
What are the requirements for face coverings?
Currently, the governor’s executive order is requiring all individuals 10 years old and over to wear a face covering.
Do we need to provide face coverings for our students or will one be provided?
Due to the governor’s executive order, all students (10 and older) are required to wear face coverings at school. Parents are welcome to provide face coverings for their student(s). The district will provide a disposable face covering if necessary.
Will social distancing guidelines be observed?
To the degree that is feasibly possible, social distancing recommendations will be observed based on the guidance we receive from ADH. During times of transition, face coverings will be required. Reorganization of classrooms, cafeterias, and other learning spaces will also take place to create space between students; however, we cannot guarantee that it will always be the 6 ft. recommendation. We will balance this with not limiting a student’s need to interact and communicate with their teachers and classmates. If your student is in need of the recommended 6 ft. distance please contact the building principal.
What happens if my child gets sick at school?
If a student becomes sick at school, the school nurse will screen the student and follow the ADH guidelines. Students will need to be fever-free for 48 hours without medication before returning to school. Upon their return, they will need to check in with the school nurse.
What do I do if my child shows symptoms of COVID-19?
Parents should complete a daily screening with their child(ren) before sending them to school.
If you can answer YES to any of the questions below, please do not send your child to school. We do ask that you contact the school office to make us aware. In the event your child is absent for an extended period of time, a plan will be implemented for your child to receive instruction.
1. Have you had a fever of 100.4°F or higher in the last 2 days?
2. Have you had a cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell?
3. Have you been in contact with a person known to be infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days?
What happens if an individual tests positive for COVID-19?
In the event an individual tests positive, we will follow the latest guidance from the ADH.
What happens if we have school closures again?
We will follow the guidance from the ADH and the DESE. On-site instruction will be replaced with remote learning. On-site Panthers will become Remote Panthers during the closure period.
In the event of a temporary school closure, how will the district serve students who have special needs (Special Education, 504, Dyslexia, etc.).
Students will participate in remote learning through a variety of methods.
Frequently Asked Questions for Remote Panthers
Do I provide my own computer?
Schools will provide the computer and charger. You will need to have reliable internet service capable of streaming video.
Is there a charge for remote learning?
How do I enroll in remote learning?
Contact the building principal.
Elementary School: firstname.lastname@example.org
Middle School: email@example.com
High School: firstname.lastname@example.org
Textbooks, Chromebooks, etc. will be provided prior to August 24, 2020.
Will my child be able to participate in extracurricular activities if they are in remote learning?
Yes, but they will be required to come to campus to participate in those activities.
What if my chosen option doesn’t work for my family? Can I change my mind?
Students enrolled in either learning option will be allowed one change per semester.
Last Updated: July 21, 2020