As the Back to School season gets closer and closer we are all wanting to know just how the schools will be opening up for the Fall. The Texarkana Arkansas School District just release their re-opening plans.

According to a press release by the TASD the reopening proceedure will go like this:

As a learning community, we are facing a global pandemic never before seen in any of our lifetimes. The impact on our school family has been significant.  The guidelines outlined in this document are current recommendations from various government agencies, the Arkansas Department of Health, and the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Adjustments will be made per guidelines received.

Our commitments are:

  • To keep students and staff as physically safe and emotionally healthy as possible.
  • To ensure access and equity for all students.
  • To communicate with stakeholders, such as staff, families, and community partners.
  • To ensure flexibility to meet the social, emotional, and learning needs of all students, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.
  • To support readiness and progress in teaching and learning whether in person or at a distance.

The Texarkana Arkansas School District Ready to Learn Committee decisions are driven by the health recommendations and guidance shared with us by the government agencies with whom we partner. These include the Arkansas Department of Health, DESE, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Other guiding sources are the directives outlined by the Office of the Governor regarding the stay at home/closures and requirements for social distancing. The level of infection, the spread of the virus, and response regarding the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making as we move to reopen our schools. The health and safety of our students, our staff, and their families is our primary concern. We all want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school environments.

Should conditions change and we need to stop in-person school, parents and families may not have much notice. Parents are encouraged to have alternative plans ready.

Mission & Purpose 

This document is a tool:

  • To provide all stakeholders with the research, resources, thoughtful considerations, and guidance needed to comprehensively plan for the reopening of schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To provide a roadmap for the Ready to Learn Committee as we move forward with the reopening of schools responsively and strategically.
  • To provide district administrators areas of focus to support schools as they reopen.
  • To provide the school board with an articulated and comprehensive plan to reopen schools in alignment with federal, state, and local recommendations.
  • To provide school-based leaders (principals, assistant principals) with the framework needed to navigate the reopening of schools at the building level successfully.
  • To provide teachers and staff with the support needed to address students’ instructional and social/emotional needs to recover from the effects of long-term school closures.
  • To provide teachers and staff the information, guidance, and professional learning needed to enhance/accelerate their online learning implementation.
  • To provide parents with the details and reassurance that their students’ health/safety needs, emotional well-being, and instructional needs are considered in the reopening of schools.
  • To provide students with the highest quality educational experiences and the ability to grow as learners despite the circumstances/challenges presented due to the global pandemic.
  • To provide the community with clear communication and articulation of a comprehensive reopening plan that respects the vital role of the schools in the healing of the community.

This document represents a framework to support our schools and the community as we approach reopening in response to the global pandemic. The Ready to Learn Committee and school-based Leadership Teams will work collaboratively to implement the strategies/guidance presented. It is our collective commitment to support our schools as they work to reopen, to ensure health/safety, and to provide the highest quality instruction possible, given the extraordinary circumstances. We will communicate our plan via website, email, social media, and student/parent meetings.

Research, Resources, & Guidance

In the development of this document and reopening plan for the Texarkana Arkansas School District (TASD), the resources and guidance documents below were utilized. These documents along with webinars provided a foundation for the path forward in navigating the journey to reopen schools in response to the pandemic health crisis facing our community.

Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Arkansas Ready for Learning

Arkansas Activities Association

Arkansas Public School Resource Center

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Stakeholder Input and Recommendations

The voices of all members of our Ready to Learn Committee were a critical part of developing this reopening plan.  Those stakeholders included: teachers, special education staff, nurses, technology staff, instructional coaches, secretaries, communications specialist, athletic director, building and central office administrators, and school board members. We gathered stakeholder input via surveys, emails, general conversations, and virtual meetings. The focus of this work was to gather input on the reopening of school. We used all of the information to ensure an informed and transparent process to capture the voices of the Ready to Learn Committee members in the development of this plan.

Surveys

The TASD conducted surveys to gather feedback from staff and families on support and learning needs to return to school. Surveys asked staff to answer a variety of questions related to their professional learning needs regarding the return to school in August. Parent surveys asked families their thoughts and concerns about returning to school, access to technology/internet, and learning preferences if various instructional pathways are available.

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