LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has extended the mandatory closure of all Arkansas public schools through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, he announced at a news conference today. Arkansas educators will continue to provide alternative methods of instruction (AMI) for students to continue learning at home.
“The continued spread of COVID-19 throughout the nation does not give me confidence that our educators, parents, and, most importantly, our students would be safe if schools were to resume on-site instruction in April,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Although on-site instruction has been discontinued until the 2020-2021 school year, it is critical that our students continue to learn at home.”
Governor Hutchinson made the decision to extend his directive for school closures in consultation with Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Secretary Johnny Key and on the recommendation of Dr. Nathaniel Smith, secretary of the Department of Health (ADH).
“ADE is working closely with Arkansas educators, including members of local school boards, administrators, and teachers, to ensure that school districts have adequate support to continue AMI delivery through the remainder of the school year,” Secretary Key said.
Arkansas PBS will continue to broadcast streamlined, curriculum-based programming for the state’s pre-K through 8th grade students in partnership with ADE Division of Elementary and Secondary Education through May 1, 2020. After May 1, districts using Arkansas AMI resources will continue to provide education through their local AMI plans until the end of the academic year.
School districts may continue child nutrition services through meal delivery or meals-to-go methods in congruence with the ADH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for precautionary measures, hand washing, and social distancing.