Principal Jennings Reflects on School Reopening Plan


Brianna Young

March 12, 2020 started out as a normal day. Spring break was approaching, and both students and teachers were counting down the days until dismissal. Suddenly Mr. Jennings announces over the intercom that we will be taking a two-week break from school due to a strange, new virus called COVID-19. Students were cheering. Even some teachers were excited, but still others were stressed. At the beginning, we thought the virus, the lockdown, and the extra precautions were all temporary, but months later we’re back at school and still wearing masks and social distancing in every public place we go.

“It’s not real,” North Little High School Principal Scott Jennings described it.

When it was time to reopen schools, many students and parents were very curious as to how schools were going to enforce social distancing. The North Little Rock School District reached out to students, teachers, and communities to better accommodate families through the pandemic. NLRHS provided each student with three masks, sanitizing stations, and fill stations for water bottles. Staff organized traffic patterns for hallways, added social distancing stickers to the floors, and spaced desks apart as much as possible. During the summer, NLRSD also provided Wi-Fi and chromebooks to students. By himself, Principal Jennings purchased 10,000 extra masks. Even with all this preparation, things were still uncertain.

Jennings states, “At one point, we didn’t know if we were coming back or not.”

In order for school to reopen, Principal Jennings began to follow a guiding document to better help our re-entry. He also formed a team to help him. The key was to keep students socially distanced. NLRHS students had an option of choosing virtual learning or face-to-face learning.

Although the pandemic took a turn for the worse, Principal Jennings and the staff worked hard to provide students and staff with a proficient learning environment and a way to navigate “a new normal”.