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Letter from Superintendent Dr. Mark Gotcher

Dear Patron of RSD,

Russellville Public Schools remain committed to providing a high-quality education for all students. Health, safety and security will always be our greatest priority for our students. However, as we approach the new school year, in a time no one could have imagined, we know that all students, staff, and families will have many questions and concerns for what the new school year will look like. While we do not have all of the answers, our hope is that this document will provide some answers to your questions. We will continue to update this document as new information arrives.

The information in this document has been created from the latest information and feedback from the Governor’s Office, Arkansas Department of Health, Division for Elementary and Secondary Education, educational leaders, health care professionals, and various other patrons.

The information within this document is subject to change. However, it is our desire to continue to receive feedback from our community of teachers, parents, students, and community members as we move closer to the start of school on August 24th.

Our kids need our teachers. Our teachers need to connect with our students. Teachers are a vital part of the growth of our students for their academic and social/emotional development. Sadly,

our concern is that we will see a rise in childhood abuse and trauma during this pandemic. We need our students in school to be able to support them in all the ways they need us.

The Journal of American Medical Association reports that children younger than 10 years account for only 1% of COVID-19 cases. While that may be comforting to some it does not reduce our commitment to protecting your child and our teachers. Furthermore, the social/emotional impact on students from this pandemic could be more damaging than the virus itself. Therefore, we need to remain vigilant and united to do the best we can to start school on August 24th.

My best to everyone in our RSD family!

Our mission is to educate, equip, and empower every student every day.

-Dr. Gotcher

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Question and Answer Parent/Teacher Information Guide

As of July 20, 2020

What is the first day of school for students?

  • School will begin on Monday, August 24, 2020, as proclaimed by AR Governor on July 9, 2020. This date will not change unless guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health or the Governor’s Office advises districts to do so.

Who will be required to wear face coverings?

  • Effective July 20, 2020, the Governor’s executive order mandates wearing face-coverings in all public places where social distancing is not possible. Therefore, students 4th grade and above will wear a face covering when social distancing is not possible. We recommend that students 3rd grade and below wear face coverings.
  • RSD will continue to follow the latest guidance from the Governor’s Office, Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), and the Division for Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). We encourage every student to purchase or make a face-covering they are comfortable wearing. The district will provide one washable, reusable, face-covering per student who may need one. Face coverings will follow current dress code expectations.
  • The district will enforce the wearing of face coverings for students who are required to do so unless exempt by a health or medical reason.

Will bus transportation be provided for our students?

  • Yes, we are planning to run our normal bus routes at the normally scheduled times. However, all students will be required to wear face coverings on school buses per the Governor’s order regarding transportation.
  • In order to reduce the number of student passengers on our buses, we are asking families to consider taking their children to school, if at all possible.

What will the school day look like for our students?

  • Our goal is to have as normal a school day as possible for our students. We will make adjustments depending on what we are being advised to do by our state experts. The district has a contingency plan that may be implemented based upon current guidance or recommendations.

What safety measures will be implemented in regard to cleaning and sanitizing our schools and classrooms?

  • We will sanitize classrooms, buildings, and playground equipment before, during, and after school hours.
  • Support services personnel will thoroughly clean all areas of our school.
  • See Building Procedures in item 6 of this document for more details.

How will our classrooms be sanitized throughout the school day?

  • Staff will be expected to assist in sanitizing their own work areas, prior to transitioning to another area. Students may assist, where appropriate. (see building procedures document)
  • Each classroom, office, and larger areas will have a spray bottle of disinfectant, gloves and hand sanitizer.

School buses?

  • Each bus will have a spray bottle of disinfectant and/or disposable disinfecting wipes, gloves and hand sanitizer.
  • Sanitizing will occur after each route is completed and students are no longer on the bus.

Will my elementary student have recess?

  • Yes, but we may limit the number of students who go outside for recess. This may require us to have multiple recess schedules or kids will play in small groups or stations in our elementary schools.

Will physical or social distancing guidelines be observed?

  • Yes, as much as possible in a public school setting. We realize that there are many situations where this is not practical or best for student learning. We will do what we can to arrange classrooms differently in order to observe physical distancing, when possible.
  • Currently, the guidance is to keep students 6 feet apart in a classroom setting. However, there are physical limitations with some of our classrooms where this would not be possible.

What will happen if a teacher, staff member, or student tests positive for COVID-19?

  • If anyone should test positive, we will follow the latest guidance and protocols from the ADH. Our District Point of Contact is Mrs. Annie Schanink, Nurse Coordinator. She and her team will work closely with the Department of Health on how to proceed. Her contact number is: 479-968-1306.

Will teachers, students and staff be monitored daily?

  • Teachers, students and staff will be monitored. Any persons that are not regularly at school will be screened by our screening tool (substitutes, school personnel from other campuses, student professional services, etc.)
  • Parents will be asked to screen their child daily before going to school. Parents should check their child for the following:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
    • Loss of smell or taste
  • Further details will be provided as we approach the start of school.

What happens if students are running a fever?

  • Our updated procedures are that if any adult or student is running fever must go home and be fever free for 48 hours without medication before they can return. However, we will follow ADH guidelines as recommended related to COVID-19.

Will I be able to eat lunch with my student? or bring lunch from a restaurant?

  • Until further notice, parents/guardians will not be allowed to eat lunch with their student. The delivery of restaurant food will not be allowed.

Visitation Policy?

  • RSD will suspend the parent visitation policy 6.5.1.R until further notice.

Test Exemption practice?

  • Suspended for the 2020-21 school year. All students will participate in semester tests or culminating projects focused on demonstration of essential learning.

What will extracurricular activities look like in the fall (i.e. sports, band, choir, theatre, etc.)?

  • Our current plans are to have all extracurricular activities begin as scheduled. But, official guidelines have yet to be determined by the Arkansas Activities Association and DESE.

Where will my student eat lunch if physical distancing is to be followed?

  • Lunch plans may look differently at each building. Building principals are exploring how they might schedule a limited number of students in the cafeteria while other students may eat in their classroom or another appropriate location.
  • We will continue to have this discussion-based upon new information from our state experts.
  • Breakfast and lunch will be in the classroom at the pre-school campuses.
  • Breakfast in the classroom will be expected on the elementary campuses.
  • Grab and go breakfast and lunch will be available for some campuses.

If my student chooses Option B for their Blended Learning at home and they qualify for free or reduced lunch, will they be provided a meal?

  • Lunch will be provided for pickup on a weekly basis at a central location during specific hours to be announced.

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Building Procedures

Facilities Cleaning Procedures for 2020-2021 School Year

In order to comply with the latest sanitation/cleaning requirements, the following procedures will be in place before the start of this school year. We will adjust as guidance and circumstances change.

ROLE OF CUSTODIAL STAFF

  • The custodial staff will be responsible for sanitizing hard surfaces outside of the classroom. These are to include, but not limited to, bathrooms, water faucets, door handles, playground areas, and assisting in the cafeterias, if needed. The custodial staff will practice routine deep cleaning of the classrooms each night based on ADH recommendations and fog them on an M/W/F schedule.

ROLE OF NON-CUSTODIAL STAFF

  • Non-custodial staff (Teachers, Aides, etc.) will be responsible for cleaning the areas within the classroom.
  • Materials available in each classroom will be as follows:
    • 10 cloth towels
    • 1 spray bottle
    • Spray bottle with either of the following disinfectants (CDC approved) based on availability:
    • Virex (gloves recommended)
    • Pure Ion (Chlorine-based gloves are not required)
  • 1-32oz bottle of hand sanitizer
  • 28-quart black trash can to collect used towels
  • Disposable gloves will be provided based on cleaning disinfectant used

THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES WILL BE IN PLACE FOR:

CLASSROOM

  • Desks and common areas will be wiped down by (non-custodial) staff at the required times throughout the day, using towels and spray bottles provided.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfectant bottles will be refilled by the custodial department as needed.
  • Used towels will be placed within the provided trash can, and will be collected

with the normal trash in the evening. Towels will be washed and restocked nightly by the custodial department.

  • Virex can be sprayed on and left to dry but wiping is recommended, or Pure Ion disinfectant can be applied and does not require wiping.

WATER FOUNTAINS

  • Use of traditional push-bar/button water fountains will be eliminated.
  • We have installed bottle fillers in every building to allow students to fill/refill their water bottles.
  • Students will bring their water bottles from home.

PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT

  • Playground equipment will be cleaned throughout the day using the Virex disinfectant.
  • Playground equipment will be disinfected after the school day is over and ready for use the following day. 

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Social and Emotional Support

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Plan 2020-2021

District Objective:

Each building will incorporate explicit SEL instruction within the classroom. Specific lessons will be created on a campus-by-campus basis (see examples on the chart below) in a way that minimizes the workload on individual teachers for planning while maximizing building level flexibility. A heavy emphasis will be placed on relationship building with students throughout the district.

The first three weeks across the district will focus on SEL. Regular academic instruction will continue; however, lessons will emphasize SEL skills. This is to both provide additional support during this stressful transition and to rebuild academic stamina of students while teaching tools for emotional regulation, problem-solving, and relationship building.

SEL Focus:

Lessons will be differentiated based on student age, campus needs, and focus areas. An emphasis is being placed on supporting school individuality while providing support using the Mental Health Liaison to guide each building to resources to meet their unique needs.

Supportive Resources:

Staff: Counselors, School Psychology Specialists, Mental Health Liaison, Curriculum Directors These individuals can provide support and guidance with the creation of SEL lessons, support with implementation, and coordination of services across grade levels.

Materials: CASEL, G.U.I.D.E. for Life, Zones of Regulation, Building developed lessons

Examples by building:

Plan Development Person Responsible
RHS Create weekly lessons for Monday Advisory period to cover SEL Lessons for year developed in June, 2020 Teacher guided lessons (no prep needed)
Crawford Teach Zones of Regulation Across Building; School Wide Book Study on SEL Zones of Regulation began in 19/20. Additional planning in progress Teachers, Counselor, School Psychology Specialist
Sequoyah PD with Mental Health Liaison to prep for lessons in August, Focus on G.U.I.D.E. for Life lessons, Dedicated time for instruction weekly, In progress, 4 of 5 grade levels started lesson planning for SEL Teachers, Counselor
RIS Teams using G.U.I.D.E. for Life to embed lessons into the curriculum and for explicit weekly lessons in advisory In progress Teachers

Teacher Wellness Supports:

Building level PD has been planned to train teachers on SEL and provide teachers with plans/resources based on the building level plan. Building lessons are created as a team and shared across the building to minimize the toll of lesson planning for SEL.

Buildings are discussing ways to support teacher health and wellness. One building piloted teaching stress management strategies monthly as a part of the building PD.

Roll out mental health services for staff including details about the referral process and assurances of confidentiality for individuals seeking support.

Offer wellness trainings, stress management classes to teach specific techniques, and provide small-group support meetings, as needed. These supports will be provided by the Mental Health Liaison or Connections Behavioral Health, as appropriate.

Mental Health Support Request Form 

Key Terms

  • CASEL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. The organization provides a resource for information on evidence-based programs and resources for the implementation of SEL in schools.
  • CASEL Wheel: Identified core competencies to address SEL in students. These include Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Responsible Decision Making, Relationship Skills, and Social Awareness.
  • G.U.I.D.E. for Life: Guide developed by the DESE using CASEL core competencies to focus on skills necessary for student success across school, work, home, and in the community. This includes target skill training for: Growth, Understanding, Interaction, Decisions, and Empathy.
  • Emotional Regulation: Skills that help individuals manage thoughts and feelings, and behaviors in a proactive, socially appropriate way.
  • Zones of Regulation: A teaching approach to identify and apply regulation skills to build self-regulation and emotional control.
  • PBIS: Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. A framework to view data and practices to guide buildings in the creation of safe and supportive academic environments. PBIS is not a specific program, but rather, a way to evaluate needs and apply strategic interventions to address student SEL needs resulting in greater academic gains and improved student emotional regulation, engagement, and behavior.

Resources Available:

Mental Health Support Request Form

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District Communication Plan

RSD is committed to providing families, employees, and our community with timely and accurate information.

There will continue to be regular district-wide updates through school messenger when needed. RSD’s district website and its social media accounts; Facebook and Twitter will stay up to date to deliver information in a timely manner. Follow us at www.rsdk12.net. Important information and updates will be available on individual school websites and social media accounts as well. Building leaders may utilize School Messenger to deliver information to parents and staff as needed.

To receive information from RSD and your student’s school through text or voice message please give your preferred contact information to your student’s school during e-school registration.

Contact Rachel Jones, District Communications Coordinator, rachel.jones@rsdk12.net, or at 479.968.1306 for more information.

Local media outlets that have partnered with RSD:

River Valley Now https://www.rivervalleynow.com/

Cyclone Boothhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/

River Valley Radiohttp://www.rivercountrykcjc.com/

The Courier https://www.couriernews.com

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Safety and Wellness

RSD Nursing staff will continue coordinating with local, state, and federal government agencies including ADH.

School nurses will serve as the primary point of contact for their building COVID-19 related questions. They will contact Mrs. Annie Schanink, our district Point of Contact.

District Primary Point of Contact:Annie SchaninkNurse Coordinator

annie.schanink@rsdk12.netPhone: 479-968-1306

District Secondary Point of Contact:Vicky Mistler, School NurseDwight Elementary

vicky.mistler@rsdk12.net

Resources:

School Nurses COVID Communication Flow Chart

ADH Face Coverings Directive 

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Blended Learning Options

Description: RSD enrolled students may attend on-site or off-site throughout the semester; however, at any time, a student may be required to stay at home due to RSD’s ongoing needs assessment of COVID-19. Learning continues through our learning management systems, with the assigned RSD teacher and support.

 Blended learning focuses on the essential learning at each grade level.

Printable Version (English) - Printable Version (Spanish) 


Learning Management Systems: 

See-Saw (K-1), Google Classroom (2-12), iLearn/Google Classroom (RHS) 

Parents: You will choose whether your children will start the year at school, or at home; new learning will occur at each location. 

  • There will be new learning for each grade level/course, whether at home or school. (not AMI) 
  • RSD will provide every K-1 student with an iPad, every 2nd-7th student with a Chromebook, and every 8th-12th grader with a laptop. 
  • Hot spots will be available for those who need internet access. 
  • Students will have to submit all work by the teacher’s deadlines in order to be counted “present” for attendance when learning from home. Students do not have to get online at the same time as in school, but they must meet all assignment submissions to be counted “present” for attendance. 
  • Students can work at their own pace through the lessons, as long as they meet assignment deadlines when working from home. 
  • If materials are needed for some elective courses (art, etc), arrangements will be made if possible when choosing to learn from home. 
  • Both of these options are available for all students, including those with special education. If your child requires additional accommodations or modifications, please reach out to the school or Brittany Turner at 890-5733 to schedule an IEP meeting so we can meet your needs. 

At this time, we do not know what the “in school” environment will look like, in regards to safety/health for COVID19. We will wait until we get further guidance from the AR Dept of Health before we can release those expectations. 

We want families to make the decision that is best for your family. All students will automatically be enrolled in Option A. Please click here only if you want to register your children for Option B by August 6, 2020. 

Option A: On-Site with RSD Curriculum and teachers 

Option B: Off-Site with RSD Curriculum and teachers

 Option B (off-site) Selection Form

Parents: Please make a 9-week commitment to either option. We realize that extenuating circumstances may occur. Please contact your individual schools if the need arises.

Anytime students are choosing to be at home to learn, they may still come to the school for certain extracurricular activities or as needed. If students are required to be at home for COVID19 reasons, they may not come up to the school. 

However, if neither of these options works for your family, we now have Option C available.

Option C: Virtual Learner with Cyclone Virtual Academy. This will be a 100% online curriculum using Lincoln Learning for K-8 students and Virtual Arkansas for 9-12. Your child will be assigned an RSD teacher to provide support and feedback for all their instructional needs for all k-8 students. Grades 9-12 will be assigned a teacher through Virtual Arkansas.

Please contact Bryan Swymn, RSD Digital Learning Supervisor, at Bryan.swymn@rsdk12.net for more information. 

For any further questions, you may contact your child’s building principal or our Directors of Teaching and Learning below:

Barbara McShane for Sequoyah Elementary at 479-968-2134 or barbara.mcshane@rsdk12.net

Krista Malin for London Elementary at 479-293-4241 or krista.malin@rsdk12.net

Sheri Shirley for Oakland Heights Elementary at 479-968-2084 or sheri.shirley@rsdk12.net

Laura Binz for Dwight Elementary at 479-968-3967 or laura.binz@rsdk12.net

Tami Chandler for Center Valley Elementary at 479-968-4540 or tami.chandler@rsdk12.net

Shavon Jackson for Crawford Elementary at 479-968-4677 or shavon.jackson@rsdk12.net

Cathy Koch for RIS at 479-968-2650 or cathy.koch@rsdk12.net

Sarah Monfee for RMS at 479-968-2557 or sarah.monfee@rsdk12.net

Matt Kordsmeier for RJHS at 479-968-1599 or matt.kordsmeier@rsdk12.net

Al Harpenau for RHS at 479-968-3151 or al.harpenau@rsdk12.net  

Karie Turney for K-4th curriculum at 479-968-5216 or karie.turney@rsdk12.net

Judy Pennington for 5-12th curriculum at 479-967-6051 or judy.pennington@rsdk12.net

Bryan Swymn for Digital Learning Supervisor at 479-219-5355 or bryan.swymn@rsdk12.net[BACK TO TOP]