Arkansas schools to begin virtual classes in midst of COVID-19 surge

Coronavirus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly, and some Arkansas school districts are choosing to start classes virtually next week.

The Little Rock and Pulaski County Special school districts will hold classes online Monday and Tuesday.

Some parents question if this is just the beginning of virtual classes?

School leaders are concerned about rising cases.

“It wasn’t surprising,” Ryan Davis, a parent of three Little Rock School District students, said. “We made it work. It was, I think, necessary.”

All of Davis’s children in LRSD had their classes virtually last year.

Davis says doing it again is OK for now. He says it’s better safe than sorry.

“We have much more of a vested interest in making sure they’re safe and healthy rather than achieving some nebulous attendance number,” Davis said.

Katie Rawlings, another LRSD parent, says if students could return to the classroom, they should.

“Here we go again,” Rawlings said. “Back in the virtual platform and they’ve had their kids back in the classroom and in a groove, and now we’re going to take 10 steps back.”

Guidelines set by the Arkansas Department of Education show districts can apply for up to 10 virtual days called AMI.

LRSD and PCSSD will have used at least four between this week and next.

Guidelines suggest schools will have to schedule make-up days if they go past their allotted 10, but the state says they’re always communicating with schools.

“We just have to be more decisive,” Davis said.

With cases going up parents think virtual learning may become more frequent.

“This is one of those 100-year things,” Davis said. “So, there are not really persons alive who’ve experienced this.”

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