Dardanelle Public Schools administration and staff prepare to keep kids healthy this fall

Reopening Schools in Arkansas

DARDANELLE, Ark. – It is getting down to the wire for schools to create a safe space this fall.

Dardanelle is still working out the details on their fall plan. They do know they will offer two options, traditional or virtual, but even on the traditional side, it’s going to look much different.

Dardanelle High School teachers are already prepping their classrooms for the school year as time ticks away to August.

“I’m thinking about having one sit at each end, therefore they’re not really close together this year,” said Jennifer Garrison a Dardanelle High School Teacher.

Garrison has stood at the front of a classroom for six years but now has to find new ways to teach the material.

“It’s been a challenge because every day it seems like there’s been something new coming up,” said Garrison.

This year, most of her lesson plans will go from the white board to the small screen.

“We’re going to be actually passing out chrome books this year, implementing an online portion of the class,” said Garrison.

Principal Jamie Burris walked through the lobby getting ready for kids to pick up their schedules in a couple of weeks.

“These are some of our plexiglass barriers so that we can provide a safe barrier for folks as they come into the office,” said Burris.

Burris says the district is still working out the details for when the halls fill with students.

“Look at things like how we will social distance, how we will use things like screenings, face masks, sanitizing,” said Burris.

“It’s very scary trying to make that decision, is it safe to go back,” said Garrison.

As a mom herself, Garrison understands parents’ questions and reservations.

“My biggest concern honestly is getting sick or my children getting sick and missing an extended period of time,” said Garrison.

But the district says they are working hard to communicate with each staff member.

“It’s been amazing waking up and having emails saying exactly what changes are coming out,” said Garrison.

And she’s confident when these doors do open, they’ll be ready.

“We’re going to take care of your babies,” said Garrison.

Burris says Dardanelle High School has about 70 students who have chosen strictly virtual learning but numbers change on a day to day basis.

They should be rolling out their official plan within the next few weeks.

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