A Letter from Dr. Mike Skelton

August 19, 2020

Benton, Ark

Dear Parents,

The new school year is quickly approaching, and the staff of Benton Public Schools is ready to see your child again! There is no doubt that this year will be different from any other year. Know that your child's safety will always be our first priority, and these times only reinforce that commitment.

I recently had the chance to speak with every school as the teachers and staff arrived to prepare for the school year. We are truly fortunate to have such a caring, dedicated staff who are looking forward to seeing "their kids" again on the week of August 24th. In my discussions with them, I emphasized three things that we ask everyone to use as a guide for this school year; they are grace, patience, and flexibility. With the many unknowns today and in the near future, it is important we all exercise these three virtues with each other and ourselves.

Because of the COVID-19 virus, we have many new precautions and procedures in place. As the guidelines from state and federal authorities continue to change, procedures that we currently have in place may change. Under the current guidelines, you may experience slower lines, limited access to buildings and events, canceled activities, and other things that are different from previous years. We understand this is not ideal, nor our preference, but a necessity based upon the guidance we have been given. Even with that said, we will continuously monitor our practices looking for ways to improve. In times like these, it can be easy to become frustrated, and we ask that you are patient and understanding of those required to carry out those directives.

You, as parents, can partner with us on making this school year successful. If your child is sick or feels they may be sick, please keep them at home. Absences for sickness and those related to COVID-19 will not be used negatively towards the child in any way. Please screen your child every morning at home. If you are in doubt as to whether you should send your child due to their health, please keep them at home to ensure the safety of the other students. Also, if your child tests positive for COVID19, please notify the nurse at your child’s school as soon as possible.

Before the first day of school, we ask that you do the following:

 Discuss hygiene, such as hand washing and not touching their face with your child.
 Have a water bottle for your child (with their name on it) and ensure it is full every morning.
 Have multiple, reusable masks that fit your child correctly, and your child is comfortable wearing for long periods.
 Charge your student's device (Chromebook, iPad, or MacBook) each night as they sleep.
 If you are able to bring your child to school instead of him/her riding a bus, please do so. This limits the number of students on a bus and allows them to space out more. Masks must be worn on the bus at all times.

As a reminder, for students who will be attending onsite this year, the first two weeks of school are a time to phase-in to the school year. Below is a schedule for the first two weeks:

Monday and Thursday: Onsite students with last names starting with A-M attend onsite.
Tuesday and Friday: Onsite students with last names with N-Z attend onsite.
Wednesday: All students will learn online from home.

Throughout this school year, it is essential we can contact you. If your phone number or address changes, please notify the school as soon as possible to ensure you receive the latest and most up-to-date information from the school. We also will be posting various announcements on Facebook and through our text messaging system. Additionally, updates to the school year can be found at:


Any school closing must be done with the approval of the Department of Health and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. If a campus or the district closes down due to COVID-19, you can expect notification via the text message system, and we will post on our Facebook page in addition to other media outlets.

Thank you once again for all of your support this school year. While we know many of the procedures are not preferred or ideal, they are necessary. We look forward to a great year, and that can only be possible with your assistance and understanding.

I know that with all of us working together, we will have a great school year!

Dr. Mike Skelton