If parents choose Virtual Learning, where students learn remotely full-time, registration for the entire first semester of school will be on Thursday, July 16, 2020 between 7:00 am to 7:00 pm in the TLC lab located on the Watson Chapel High School campus. Orientation will begin every hour on the hour.

With a lot of uncertainties for fall sports this upcoming school year, one thing is certain at Watson Chapel is when choosing to attend school on-site or through virtual learning, all students will be allowed to participate in athletics.

According to a release from the Watson Chapel School District, students that choose to participate in virtual learning and athletics will be expected to be at practice at the same time as the on-site students.

The Arkansas Activities Association stated last week that they were preparing to resume activities and athletics this fall in accordance with the regular AAA calendar in contingent upon compliance with all directives issued by Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Health.

This statement comes after Hutchinson announced at the beginning of July that contact sports, such as football would not move on to the next phase until the coronavirus cases came down.

On July 11 Arkansas recorded its highest single day increase with 1,061 positive cases. The second largest was 878 on July 2.

AAA members began limited summer activities on June 1. Directives from ADH categorized school sports into two different categories: close-contact and limited-contact team sports.

Close contact team sports include basketball, wrestling, football, cheerleading, dance, volleyball, and soccer.

Limited-contact team sports included baseball, softball, golf, track and field, cross country, bowling, tennis, gymnastics, shooting sports, swimming and individual dance competitions.

Arkansas high school football teams were able to resume in-person workouts June 1, but in smaller groups and with no contact.

Hutchinson said until the number of cases decreased he didn’t expect the movement to take or for opening up for those additional contact sports.

The number of cases and positivity rates would have to decline before Hutchinson would lift the restrictions.

A big factor in decreasing those numbers according to Hutchinson, is wearing masks.

Hutchinson said if Arkansans want to have football this fall they need to wear masks now.

Holding a mask in one hand and a football in the other, Hutchinson told Arkansans it's up to them if fall sports returns to the state in 2020.

"There is a connection between this mask at this football," Hutchinson said adding by wearing the masks to reduce cases will put the state in a better position to have some type of team sports.

Watson Chapel District officials say they anticipate sports activities in the fall with possible modifications as required by the ADH and communication would come from the coaches.

They are still awaiting guidance on both band and choir.

The Watson Chapel School District will be joining the other Jefferson County School Districts in providing a virtual education but is striving to provide as much normalcy as possible for students who choose to return to the classroom following a similar schedule to the traditional school day.

In Watson Chapel School District’s COVID-19 guidance, it was noted that classrooms would be arranged to provide more space between students making every effort to provide distance but not limit students’ ability to interact and communicate with others in their classroom. Additionally, supplies and materials would not be shared by students.

The district will provide each student with one mask and strongly recommends that adults and students age 10 and up wear face coverings when physical distancing cannot be achieved particularly on school buses.

Students under 10 years of age and those with health issues and special needs will not be asked to wear face coverings.

If parents choose Virtual Learning, where students learn remotely full-time, registration for the entire first semester of school will be on Thursday, July 16, 2020 between 7:00 am to 7:00 pm in the TLC lab located on the Watson Chapel High School campus. Orientation will begin every hour on the hour.

Orientation will be on the following dates for students who are participating in traditional school.  During this time parents will receive vital information for the school year and a student mask. 

• August 11 – All 2nd, 6th, 9th and 12th graders 

• August 12 – 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 11th graders

• August 18,19 – Kindergarten

• August 19,20 – 1st Grade

• August 20 –  All 1st, 4th, 7th,  and 10th graders 

Orientation Times:  

• Kindergarten and 1st grade: By appointment

• 2nd and 3rd grade: 5:30pm-6:30pm

• 4th, 5th, and 6th grade:  5:00pm-6:00pm

• 7th, 8th, and 9th grade:  5:00pm-6:30pm (location in high school cafeteria)

• 10th, 11th, and 12th grade:  4:30pm-6:00pm (location in high school auditorium)

The district is also prepared to accommodate students through both onsite and offsite instruction with special needs. Officials say parents that have concerns about their students who may be at high-risk because of COVID-19, may explore the virtual learning option which allows the student to continue their education from the safety of their own home.