When Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he hoped the state would return to public school classrooms in “the fall” he cautioned it was a work in progress.

Boy howdy. Check two things that flashed across my Twitter screen within minutes this morning.

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One was a Democrat-Gazette report on assurances from Education czar Johnny Key yesterday that the plan “is to be in school.”

Oh, really?

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See this from 40/29 in Northwest Arkansas.

Then read the story. “Blended” means some class time, but being prepared to flee to other places if the need arises. I suspect it also means some out-of-class work as a means of spacing out students in classrooms.

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“Virtual” means students will learn remotely full time. A student who is put on the virtual track won’t be able to return to in-person learning until the next semester.

Welcome to home-schooling! Mandated for a semester should you choose. You can see why school-choicers are licking their chops at the possibility of using the pandemic to upend the old public school model.

Among the new rules Bentonville has announced:

  • Face coverings required for students 4th grade and above when physical distancing isn’t possible

  • Meals will be served in both the cafeteria and classrooms to provide more physical space

  • Water fountains won’t be available

  • Parents must screen students for fever and other symptoms

  • Staff and visitors will be screened

And what if parents are manly men and womanly women like Trumpers? What if they believe masks are signs of weakness?

School is going to change. Students lost ground from the truncated 19-20 school year. Those most in need lost the most.

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We must stop calling it the “fall” school opening. August isn’t fall.