Parents will have a choice to make as the new school year begins in the Booneville School District, but officials are committed to providing a top quality education to every student no matter where they may be physically.

“We’re going to be doing everything humanly possible to keep these kids safe and healthy while educating them at a high level,” said Booneville School District Superintendent Dr. Todd English.

Registration is now open online for students in first through 12th grades at www.booneville schools.org

As parents begin the registration process the first question they’ll face is a choice between on-campus or online learning for their students.

English said it’s entirely up to the parent which choice they want to make, but he wants to ensure parents online courses will be taught at the same standards with the same rigor and expectations as those in the classroom. Online students will take the same assessments and exams and participate fully in all class activities through online learning and will have full access to their instructors through e-mail, Zoom and other systems.

The superintendent said the district is determined to make sure the changes required by the pandemic do not disrupt their efforts to equip students for the future.

“We’re not going to allow the pandemic to undo years of raising the bar,” he said.

Parents who choose to send their students back to campus can be assured every step possible is being taken to ensure their safety, said the superintendent. The district has a detailed and aggressive program for disinfecting all buildings. The flow of activities during the day will be modified to increase social distancing wherever possible.

Masks will be required at times throughout the day whenever there are situations where proper distancing is not possible. Masks will be provided by the district.

English said they know it’s important to “let kids be kids” and they are working on plans to continue to allow outdoor recess, physical education and the use of the cafeteria for lunch to give students periods of physical activity throughout the day while keeping them safe.

He feels strongly the district is taking every step possible to protect children on campus and said his own children will both be returning to classes on campus when the school year begins.

Students will return to school with a modified schedule of alternating days for the first week and half of school in order to allow staff and administrators the chance to get everyone used to the new schedule and requirements before all students are on campus at the same time. The determination of who goes on which days will be made based on the first letter of the name of the oldest child in the household so families will be able to attend on the same day. This will only continue through August 17 when all students will attend full days five days per week.

Registration for kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students will begin on July 22. Parents can check the Active Parent program or call the school after that date to find out their child’s teacher and contact them for an in-person appointment for registration. Any parent who has any questions or problems with the online registration process can also call their schools for assistance.

English acknowledged educators are dealing with a constantly changing situation and said they have plans in place to respond to any closures mandated by the state or required for any reason through the new school year without sacrificing the quality of education.

He said while the pandemic has created unprecedented challenges it’s also provided an unprecedented opportunity to look at how education is delivered with a blank slate. He said they are keeping all options on the table as they consider how to utilize every resource available to deliver education to students in the best and most efficient way possible both today and in the future.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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