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story.lead_photo.caption TIMES photograph by Annette Beard Pea Ridge Intermediate School principal Mindy Bowlin and assistant principal Jessie Hester were among the school staff handing out computers and instructional packets to parents Monday, March 16, in preparing for the school using Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) while shut down due to the coronavirus epidemic.

In an unprecedented move, schools around the state closed their doors transitioning to Alternative Methods of Instruction (AIM) in response to direction from the state Department of Health and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

On Sunday, March 15, Pea Ridge School officials made the announcement that Pea Ridge schools will be closed until March 30. The week of March 23-27 was slated as spring break in Pea Ridge.

Seesaw, coursework and grading platform used only by the Primary (kindergarten through second-grade) building.

Schoology is a learning management solution that allows parents and guardians to view coursework and their child’s activity. This allows the district to help fill the gap between home and school progress.

For questions, please email Dana Tabor at [email protected].

"Each student's teacher will communicate for off-campus instruction beginning on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Off-campus instruction will pause during the regularly scheduled week of Spring Break (March 23-27, 2020). At this point in time, we are hoping to re-open for on-site face to face instruction on Monday, March 30, 2020. Please note that as always follow the school district's website and Facebook page for the latest and most current school opening and closing information," the school announcement stated.

"All sporting events, school activities, and school-related travel have been canceled during this time," the announcement stated.

The Arkansas Activities Association announced Friday that due to growing concerns over coronavirus, all spring interscholastic competition is suspended until March 30.

Pea Ridge coaches counseled their senior students to encourage younger students to continue to train personally and to stay in good physical condition.

Students will begin off-campus instruction delivery on Tuesday, March 17. Teachers and staff of Pea Ridge School District were to use Monday, March 16, as the final day to prepare for off-campus instruction.

According to school officials, delivery may look different depending on a student's grade level and individual needs. Each student's teacher will communicate for off-campus instruction beginning on Tuesday, March 17.

"This office has done a fabulous job of explaining the how and why," Rick Neal, school superintendent, said.

"We need to do to keep moving forward and offering consistent support for teachers who will be teaching more online without students in front of them. There will be some adjustments over the next several days," he said. Platforms to be utilized include Seesaw and Schoology, he said. "All are designed to have a lot of interaction within that learning ... it's not just paperwork."

"Our principals have done a good job supporting the teachers and showing them how to do this. Everybody is on board," Neal said.

School officials handed out paper packets to parents of students with instructional material Monday and passed out Chromebooks to parents of students who do not have technology devices on which to do their school work.

Neal said teachers and staff are still getting paid.

"The beauty of a government agency is that we still continue to move forward," Neal said. "Bills still have to be paid. There will be nothing interrupted. There will be no students here right now, but we've made arrangements to continue education.

"We've been working on AMI for several years now," he explained.

He said the maintenance and cleaning staff will be cleaning facilities and areas will be shut down as they're cleaned.

School lunches will continue to be served by food service employees as buses transport lunches to central locations to serve children. He said food service manager Julie Ferguson used the summer lunch program format to prepare lunches.

"We're even going to feed the daycares if they choose," Neal said.

"There are a lot of educational opportunities," Neal said. "They can still do virtual learning -- schools all the time are doing virtual learning.

"Parents need to stay engaged and not allow this to become an educational dead period," he said. "Maintain your contact with teachers. Interact with the world around them educationally. Look for learning opportunities -- don't just stay in the home and do nothing at all."

"Learning happens more than just at school," he said, encouraging all students and parents to "become lifelong learners and continue to find new ways to learn."

"This is a difficult, very challenging time," he said. "We need to be fully prepared."

Religion on 03/18/2020

Print Headline: Schools shutter doors; offer alternative learning means

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