Posted Date: 07/30/2020
A letter from Tom Wilson, your school superintendent:
First, I want to let you know that Mr. Purtle and I had been friends since about 2009. He was superintendent at Palestine Wheatley and I was superintendent at Barton. We served on the Great Rivers Educational Cooperative board in West Helena. He was a great guy. He had a certain smile and a great passion for education. We were both old school but had to change with the times. I had been in contact with Mr. Purtle since early March. He told me I should apply for his position since he was retiring. We met several times to discuss everything about Spring Hill Schools. I told him that I would continue any plans he had for the district and finish the new construction project. We will miss Mr. Purtle.
Today, I want to discuss with you the plan for starting school on August 24th. Dr. Peter Maggio, Mr. Steve Bradshaw, Mrs. Tracey Moore, our school nurse, the leadership teams and I have been very busy staying up to date with the Arkansas Department of Health, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Governor Hutchinson on how to start school.
The Covid 19 Epidemic has created a lot of stress for everyone. We decided we would start with one of three plans. One -Face to Face at school, Two- Blended Learning by being at school some and remote learning at home some, and Three- Remote Learning at home only. We do not know today exactly how we will start school on August 24th. But, we do know that we will start that day unless there is another emergency declaration announcement to delay school by Governor Hutchinson. Our principals, leadership teams, teachers and staff have been planning for a while now.
We want to provide the best education possible for our kids. The principals have shared information about the various plans for starting school. We definitely want to provide a better virtual education system than what we provided at the end of last year with the AMI packets. Mrs. Jan Rhodes, Tech Coordinator, has been extremely busy in this process. We have purchased Hot Spots that will help with connectivity so all our students can use their Chromebooks at home. Governor Hutchinson announced this week that $10,000,000 would be used for rural district to ensure they could reach all the students in the areas that needed it. We must have a quality program of instruction.
There are certain guidelines we will follow in determining the Level of Response the district will take when Covid 19 cases occur. The level of Community Spread as determined by the Department of Health will be an important factor in determining if a district must shift to other instructional delivery methods and still follow the Arkansas Ready for Learning Model.
The Arkansas Department of Health has put together procedures for dealing with Covid 19 positive cases in our schools. Please read the Level of Responses that are outlined in the ADE publication (Response Levels for Onsite Learning) uploaded to our school Facebook page and website so you will understand the protocol. Once cases are discovered at our school the Point of Contact person in our district will notify the Arkansas Department of Health and they will determine what happens next. Safety is our main concern!
You can see this is a very involved process. We must be diligent in following the Arkansas Department of Health guidelines along with recommended guidelines from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Please be patient as we begin the school year. We want to protect all our students and need your help in supporting us in our effort.