FORREST CITY, Ark. (WMC) - School is scheduled to start in Forrest City in about two months. With the threat of the coronavirus, officials have come up with a plan they hope will appeal to parents concerned about their children’s safety.
“I want them just to be safe,” said parent Terrence Powell.
Powell has children in the sixth and seventh grades in Forrest City. The school district has come up with a plan for the upcoming school year it hopes will keep the district’s 2,500 students safe and give parents two options.
“One option is on-campus learning,' said Kendall Owens with the Forrest City School District. “The other option is for a virtual learning environment.”
Owens, a public relations director for the Forrest City School District, says it is still a work in progress, but if a parent chooses the virtual learning option, their child will learn along with their classmates in the classroom.
”Students that are learning at home are seeing the same thing as those that are learning in the classroom,” said Owens.
He says if a student does not have the electronics needed for the virtual learning the school district will provide it. The district is still working out how the students will be provided internet access if needed. In the past, the district has used mobile WiFi.
“A child’s education should be most important because every child is not the same,” said parent Roderick Hamilton.
Hamilton, who has a 7-year-old child in Forrest City schools, says he likes the different options offered but says he will send his child to the actual classroom.
”I’m not really concerned, to be honest,” said student James Perkins.
Perkins will be in the 10th grade this school year. He says he wants to go to classes in the school. And while he says he is not concerned about the virus, he and his friends take precautions.
“We’re still taking precautions and stuff like that and wear masks and things like that,” said Perkins.
Owens says the district hopes the options reassure parents and students.
”We understand this is the way some parents may feel like they don’t want to send their child to school because the risk of the coronavirus is still great,” said Owens.
Parents can go online now to the Forrest City School District page and fill out a survey to let the district know what parents want for their child. The survey will be available until the end of the week.