SSD VIRTUAL ACADEMY & ONSITE BLENDED LEARNING
Like other school districts across the nation, the Sheridan School District has been exploring multiple teaching and learning options for the upcoming school year. We are doing everything we can to ensure all students continue to have a safe and rigorous educational environment.
We are closely monitoring guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Education. There is much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, but we still plan on opening schools on August 13. The Sheridan School District is pleased to announce that we are currently developing two learning options for families. Families may choose our Virtual or Blended learning environment based on the ADE READY FOR LEARNING report issued last week.
The SSD Virtual Academy is a K-12 online school option where students can learn remotely full time while also having access to our curriculum, teachers, intervention, and support. Students will receive the same level of education they would receive on campus and will also have the opportunity to be involved in Yellowjacket extracurricular activities and events.
The new virtual academy will be an improved version of the digital learning provided in the Spring of 2020 during the extended school closure. Families can expect a more rigorous curriculum that will be organized and monitored through a new learning management system. This system will make it easier for students and parents to navigate through the curriculum and instruction and will allow parents the ability to track their child’s engagement and progress throughout the school year. A device will be provided to each student enrolled in the virtual academy if needed.
Families who choose the Virtual option will not be able to switch to the Blended, onsite option, until the completion of that semester. This will help us plan for transportation, dining services, and spacing in the classrooms.
Students returning to the classroom in the fall will have a Blended learning environment. Students will report to campus to learn, but both teachers and students will be prepared for remote learning if needed due to illness or inclement weather. Blended learning allows the student to continue learning grade-level content standards through an educational plan that leverages both technology-based and face-to-face instruction. The curriculum will be aligned with the content provided through the SSD Virtual Academy so that students and teachers can easily pivot from onsite to online instruction as needed.
Safety Precautions for Blended (Onsite) Instruction
While students are on campus, we will follow the safety precautions recommended by ADH to limit the spread of COVID-19. Based on current guidelines, we will be taking the following precautions.
- Requirements for physical distancing may not be feasible in all situations in every school facility or on school buses, but all efforts possible will be made to observe physical distancing. Face coverings will be required when staff and students (fourth grade and above) return to school. Where physical distancing measures can be implemented, face coverings may be removed.
- All students (fourth grade and above) and staff will wear a face covering when riding a school bus or district transportation. Face coverings are recommended for students under grade four since physical distancing will not be feasible.
- All students (fourth grade and above) and staff will wear face masks when physical distancing of six feet is not possible (school entry, exit, classroom, hall passing, bathroom).
- If students maintain physical distancing on the playground, face coverings will not be required.
- Students and staff may remove the face covering while eating meals or snacks.
- Staff and presenters may remove face coverings while teaching if 12 feet distancing is maintained.
- Face coverings should not be used on anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious; or anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.
- Breakfast and lunch will be served in the cafeteria at reduced capacity. For this reason, visitors will not be allowed to have meals with students. Physical spacing will be organized with proper markings to show where to line up and sit.
- Proper sanitation of all areas will be completed after each meal.
- Procedures will not allow students to pick up utensils, self-serve, or share food. Parents are encouraged to open an online payment account for student meals HERE so that cash is not exchanged.
- Please send a water bottle with your child as water fountains will not be available.
Health Screening Protocols:
- Parents will be expected to screen their children using the ADH STOP THE SPREAD TOOL prior to entering any school bus or building.
- All staff and visitors entering the building will be screened prior to entering the facility/bus. Entry to the building will be limited to admit only for essential business.
One thing we’ve learned throughout this COVID-19 pandemic is guidance is subject to change. We will continue to send you updates throughout the summer as more information becomes available. If you should have any questions regarding the reopening of schools, you can submit those to our Sheridan Schools Reopening Task Force HERE. You can also view our FAQ document, which will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.
SSD Virtual Academy Interest Survey
Now that we have given you an overview of our two learning options, please complete the SSD Virtual Academy Interest Survey, so that you can let us know whether your child will be going back to campus for Blended (Onsite) instruction or if you intend to enroll your child in the SSD Virtual (Online) Academy. COMPLETE ONE SURVEY FOR EACH CHILD IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD. Your response is critical to our district as we prepare for the upcoming school year. The deadline to respond is July 1.