Arkansas cancels in-person classes through end of school year


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Monday all public schools in Arkansas will remain closed to in-person classes, but online or Alternative Method of Instruction (AMI) would continue for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

The governor said the continuation of the school closure was based on public health concerns.

Johnny Key, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Education, said Arkansas AMI, which is in partnership from Arkansas PBS and the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, currently has lessons planned through April 17, but will have lessons prepared through May 1.

According to Key, this gives schools three weeks to plan for the remainder of the school year.

Key says most school districts say they can deliver AMI through the rest of the school year.

Charter schools will also get resources from the Department of Education, Key says.

Key expects more districts will make services available when it comes to internet connectivity. He said some districts were waiting on what would happen with the school year.

School districts can continue providing student meals as long as they follow CDC guidelines.

Key says he expects school districts to be flexible.

Key also said seniors who were in good standing in the third nine weeks will meet the state standards for graduation, but also told seniors to continue their classwork.

AP students will be able to take their test at home, according to Johnny Key.

Key said core content should be the focus, but use art, music and physical education in conjunction to make the content engaging for students.

Key warned teachers to be careful of new content, but encouraged them to review and help students master what they already learned.

According to Key, graduation ceremonies are subject to the Arkansas Department of Health’s guidance on social gatherings. Key says he knows of districts that are working to plan something, either virtual graduations or onsite graduations when restrictions can be loosened.

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