ES School board OKs early dismissal on Wednesdays

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

By Samantha Jones

Teachers at the Eureka Springs School District will have extra time every week to help virtual learning students until the end of the school year.

On Monday night, the Eureka Springs School Board voted to approve early dismissal every Wednesday until the end of the 2020-21 school year. Superintendent Bryan Pruitt explained that teachers requested extra time on Wednesday to work with virtual learning students, saying students who learn on-site would be dismissed at 1:45 p.m. every Wednesday.

“That way, our teachers will be online by 2 p.m. and they’ll have an hour and a half to work with our virtual students through Zoom, phone calls or email,” Pruitt said. “We’ll do that for the spring semester only. I recommend we pass that.”

Board member Jason Morris asked if students could stay at the school past 1:45 p.m. and Pruitt said they can, but they’ll have to be picked up by their parents.

“We’re only going to run the bus one time at 2 p.m.,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt said several school districts have done something similar to this during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was important to bring it to the school board, Pruitt said, because teachers asked for extra time to work with virtual students.

“Our teachers asked for more time, so we want to be accommodating,” Pruitt said. “My job is to look at the big picture. How does that affect the parents? How does that affect the kids that are going to be here? As I looked at it and prayed about it, I thought this was going to work out.”

Pruitt said the plan was already approved by the state department of education. The board then voted, unanimously approving the request.

Also at the meeting, the board approved a request for a community service learning partnership where high school students can receive class credit if they work 75 hours of community service for A Cup of Love Ministry, ECHO Village, Eureka Springs Parks & Recreation, Eureka Springs Community Center and Good Shepherd Humane Society.

The board also agreed to add the Visa bill to the electronic payment. Pruitt said that will help eliminate mail and cut down on possible late fees.

Pruitt thanked all the staff and students for their hard work during the pandemic and said everyone is looking forward to Christmas break.

“I want them to enjoy this break. Enjoy time at home with their families. Stay safe and get some rest,” Pruitt said. “It’s been a rough semester. It’s been physically and emotionally challenging for everybody trying to be safe.”

He continued, “I just hope everybody can enjoy that time with their family and when we come back after Christmas, let’s roll our sleeves up and get after it again, and hopefully we’ll have a successful spring semester as well.”

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, at the middle school cafeteria.

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