The inclement weather has been affecting some students in White County when it comes to having electricity to do their schoolwork on home computers.
“We had several households without power for extended periods Tuesday,” White County Central School District Superintendent Dean Stanley said. “We are definitely being flexible in allowing our students ample time to complete work due to the many obstacles they have been facing during this time.”
Public schools in the county have not held on-campus classes this week because of the snowstorms, transitioning to virtual teaching, which the districts have been doing anyway this school year for some students because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Searcy, Bald Knob, Beebe, Pangburn, Rose Bud, Bradford and Riverview school districts have announced that they will remain closed to on-site learning for the rest of the week.
Riverview Superintendent Stan Stratton said that has been “going as you would expect ... for the most part.
“There have been a few issues with staff and or students losing power or internet,” Stratton said. “We’ve had experience with virtual, but this is the first time using for snow days and unfortunately, it’s been an extended time. Overall, it’s [the experience with virtual has] made a bad situation better.”
Rose Bud Superintendent Allen Blackwell said his district has also had “several” students having “issues with getting online.” He said the district is “in the process of buying additional hot spots to help with those.” However, he had not heard yet about any power issues.
“Weather is keeping us from completing the district basketball tournament, a few frozen pipes, but all in all we are doing the best we can be expected,” Blackwell said. “Hopefully, we will be back in school next Monday!”
Searcy school/community coordinator Betsy Bailey said “when our students are having difficulties, they are letting their principals know that they have internet issues and our principals are ensuring that they let the teachers of those students know so they can give them extra time.”
“As far as our [school] network, we are all good,” Bailey said. “As far as our network, we have had no problems unless the students on their own networks are having issues.”
Bald Knob School District Superintendent Melissa Gipson said “Bald Knob students and staff are taking this opportunity to enjoy the snow and remote learning. Like other districts across the state, inclement weather has caused some obstacles with power and internet; however, our teachers are problem-solving daily to overcome any challenges that arise.”
“Erin Miller, a middle school teacher, put it best. ‘We, like all schools, right now are having issues between power and the internet, but our teachers are constantly shifting and adjusting to be the best help and benefit to students (and families) as possible,” Gipson said. “We are understanding of the issues and grateful that we can connect with those available. We are eager to get back to [school] to see their faces.”
Teachers in Bald Knob are utilizing a variety of technology to maintain communication with their students, including phones, Google Classroom, Google Meets, personalized video instruction and Seesaw, she said.
“Some parents have expressed delight in being able to enjoy the snow while also engaging in remote learning because students do not have to make up a day at the end of the school year,” Gipson said. “All in all, our teachers and staff have committed to making the best of every day we have with each other and our students. Though this year has brought many challenges, we know that we are stronger together and learning is our focus.”