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Covid Classroom





Introducing Covid Classroom

A new series about the pandemic and Arkansas schools

“Covid Classroom” is an ongoing series produced by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newsrooms.

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About ‘Covid Classroom’

“Covid Classroom” is an ongoing series examining the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on kindergarten-through-12th-grade public education across Arkansas. The project is reported and presented by the news staffs of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, with the support of the Walton Family Foundation.

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Schools confront a whole new world

Obstacles abound in education world turned on its head

America's education system has never had to deal with anything like the covid-19 pandemic. Its impact is unprecedented.

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Districts prepare knowing virus is lurking

Covid-19 will accompany students, teachers and staffers as they return to Arkansas' public schools next week, health and district officials say.

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Dilemma, doubts

Parents agonize over difficult choices — their family’s health or kids’ education

Nupur Bhattacharyya doesn't understand why schools are open in the middle of a pandemic, but she knows she can't ensure that both of her young boys can keep up with virtual learning while she works.

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Stakes high on breaking school rules this year

Take out your books. Line up for lunch. Put on your masks. Failure to follow instructions this school year could pose serious health risks.

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Making connection

Internet access a state education test

Online education needs three primary pieces of technology to work: the device at home, its connection to the internet and the computer program that delivers lessons and homework assignments from student to teacher and vice versa.

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Virtual learning nothing by the book

Since 2013, student enrollment in the Marvell-Elaine School District has dropped nearly 20%. For a district with only 320 students, that means the loss of more than half a million dollars in funding from state, local and federal sources.

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Small districts looking at virtual charters as lifeline

Jackson County School District administrators and teachers gathered Aug. 20 in the auditorium of the rural school for a training session on online learning, their second of the month.

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Hunger amid the three R'S

Pandemic has fewer kids getting meals at schools

In a state where many children didn't get enough to eat before the pandemic, changes to kindergarten-through-12th-grade education threaten to widen the hunger divide.

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Pandemic child-abuse cases said to be more severe

As the economic fallout from the pandemic continues, some advocates for at-risk children say they've noticed ominous changes in recent child-abuse cases in Arkansas.

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Schools, parents struggle to keep kids learning

Remote learning has schools struggling to account for kids

Thousands of Arkansas students never finished the spring semester online after the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close, and many who have logged on this fall are struggling.

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Parents pool resources, form education pods

Concerned about sending her daughter back to school this fall during the pandemic and about the isolation her daughter would have to endure while studying online at home, Natalie Baber decided to explore other schooling options.

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Teachers' dual roles doubling their work

Many say they’re tired and stressed out

Hayden Shamel feels mentally exhausted.

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Teachers speak out on covid, classroom

What teachers are saying about the 2020-2021 school year.

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Substitute teachers harder to find during pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic has turned the job of finding substitute teachers into a quest.

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On a mental note

Schools see need among students, but many in state lack on-campus therapy

Kenneth Moore had a big idea for his rural school district -- train everyone to be a mental health counselor.

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State lags in on-campus mental health care for kids

At least one of every 13 students in Arkansas public schools uses on-campus mental health services in a given year, according to state Medicaid data.

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Pandemic harder for certain students

Online learning especially hard for studentsalready having trouble in school

Zane Eaton -- like many children with autism -- thrives on routine. He struggled this spring when schools closed suddenly because of the covid-19 pandemic, eliminating all routine he knew.

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Educators get creative to address hands-on learning

Millie Peters snapped her fingers to help students' maintain their rhythm as she walked around her "A Capella Choir" class at Springdale High School.

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Poll finds Arkansas parents appreciate schools' efforts this year

Most say virtual is good, traditional is better

Arkansas parents are fine with the quality of online education their kids are getting this school year, but they believe in-person learning is better, according to results from a recent poll.

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Pandemic breeds need, inspiration to meet it

Dylan Patel, a straight-A student since elementary school, didn't worry about his grades when Little Rock's Parkview Magnet High School switched to online learning in mid-March.

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Most parents confident in school safety from covid, but Black families less so

Black parents less confident of virus steps

Parents of Black students feel less assured than their white counterparts that Arkansas schools will keep their children safe from covid-19, according to the results of a recent poll.

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