Arkansas cancels in-person classes through end of school year; AMI, digital learning to continue


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) β€” In an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Monday that all Arkansas schools will be closed for in-person classes through the end of the school year.

The governor previously announced April 17 as a deadline to reopen schools.

“While we’ve had some success in slowing the spread, it’s clear that this is going to go on for some time,” Hutchinson said. “The remainder of this school year is going to be closed. We’re not going to allow in-school instruction but we will continue with alternative methods of instruction through the end of this school year.”

The governor commended teachers, students, and parents for their efforts so far to continue the school year online.

Johnny Key, commissioner of the state’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education, said Arkansas Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI), a partnership with Arkansas PBS, has content and lessons planned through April 17.

Key said the state has the capacity to extend that for another two weeks through May 1.

“That gives school districts time to develop, about three or four weeks from now, to develop plans to move forward with AMI in their district,” Key said.

Digital learning courses will continue for the remainder of the year, Key said.

“For the districts that need additional support in developing quality AMI plans, the Division will work with the Education Service Cooperatives to assist these districts with their AMI plans,” Key said. “This includes looking at the possibility of expanding internet capacity where feasible.”

School districts may continue child nutrition services as long as they can maintain CDC guidelines, he said.

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