BENTONVILLE, Ark. — UPDATE: The deadline for parents to choose between in-person and virtually classes this fall has been extended to July 22. If you do not wish
to change your initial response, no action is needed
Parents of students at Bentonville Public Schools have one more day to decide whether they want their kids to attend classes in person or virtually for the upcoming fall semester.
Tuesday (July 7) they had a chance to hear answers to questions they have from the superintendent.
The virtual option looks a lot like it did in the spring, while the blended option is on campus with safety measures in place such as mask requirements and social distancing.
“It is traditional school but it's so we’re ready to transition if there’s a crisis. If I must close the school because we have an outbreak," said Debbie Jones Bentonville Public Schools Superintendent.
Kimberly Gonzales, a mother of three, says it was an easy choice to make.
“Last year when she did virtual her GPA actually went down. She had a 3.5 GPA. She had a lot of issues with the online classes," Gonzales said.
While her two younger kids will stay home, Aaliyha Pruitt, her oldest daughter will return to campus for her senior year of high school.
“My mom consulted me about it which made me happy. It wasn’t just a straight-up her decision choice," Pruitt said.
Tanya Prince’s 15-year-old son faced similar challenges and they have also chosen the blended option.
“He wants to be with his friends, with his teachers, he wants to be out of the house. That was important to him," Prince said.
One of the biggest questions parents have is about mask wearing. The school administration will be recommending to the school board that masks be required when social distancing is not possible.
"We know that’s not going to be possible on school buses, so that’s wearing a face mask from the time you get on to the time you get off," Jones said.
According to Jones, once a parent makes a final decision, changing their mind during the middle of the semester might be difficult.
"We will intentionally build in face mask breaks throughout the day. We don’t want to be militant through the process. We want to be safe and we want to protect our students," Jones said.
The face mask recommendation will be presented to the school district's COVID-19 task force later this week.
Then the decision will be brought before the school board for approval when it meets again on July 21.
Video and interviews were provided by Downtown Bentonville Inc.