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Bentonville Public Schools to offer virtual classes this fall

Bentonville Public Schools will allow students to attend Virtual School this fall.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — An email sent out to parents Wednesday (May 20) announced Bentonville Public Schools would be offering Virtual School for students K-12 this fall.

Parents will receive an email in July, allowing them to decide if they want to choose traditional school or Virtual School if they don't feel comfortable sending their child back. 

Tracy Lindstrom will have five kids in Bentonville schools this coming fall. She hopes to know more later in the summer to decide if it's a good option for her kids.

"I think it is really great that the option is available for families that need to or want to take advantage of it. My initial reaction is all my kids are very excited to get back into the classroom and get back to learning with all of their teachers and the entire education facility at their schools," she said.

The Bentonville school district started a virtual school two years ago for fifth grade and up. Now they have expanded that to allow students in all grades who don't want to come back to the classroom in the fall to enroll in virtual school.

Bentonville board of education president Eric White says they already have dedicated teachers for the virtual school. If more students chose the virtual option than expected, they could reallocate teachers to teach virtually.

"If we need to hire teachers, we are going to do that. We are going to take care of our students in any way that we can and make sure we have the education delivered to them. But I don't anticipate needing to hire a large number of teachers because I think we already have the talent inside of our district to accommodate whatever parents chose," he said.

Students who enroll in virtual school will still be able to participate in any sport or activity as they would be with in-person classes. White says they already have virtual learning in the district's budget. Since the governor hasn't announced how going back to school in the fall will look white says they are anticipating all the options from classroom size to school start times.

Bentonville Public Schools have a district reopening task force, with parent and medical representation, that follow the directives of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Health to reopen schools, if allowed, in the safest way possible.

"Our goal and the reason we are setting up the task force is to pull together the options for Bentonville that make the most sense and have the least amount of impact on our families and also ensure that we deliver the best education to our kids," White said.

More details about Virtual School will be released in July. 

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