COVID-19 Update 7-13-2020
Everyone probably knows that Governor Hutchinson and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has decided to push the start date for Arkansas schools back to August 24th. This will be our first day of school. Open House is scheduled for August 18th, however, it will be different this year. Open House will be a meet and greet in the parking lot at both the high school and elementary. This will allow for more social distancing as encouraged by the Arkansas Department of Health. The principals will be posting more detailed information regarding the Open House event.
Also, I want to remind everyone about the survey that we sent out last week. Please be sure to answer the survey questions promptly and honestly. Your responses are important to us and to the decisions we have to make.
We want our parents and students to rest assured that we will provide a safe and sanitized environment throughout the year. Our plan is to sanitize buses and classrooms daily and multiple times when necessary. We have purchased a room fogger for the purpose of sanitizing rooms in addition to wiping down the desk, door knobs and keyboards. Additionally, the district has ordered water bottle filling stations to retrofit drinking fountains and more touchless paper towel dispensers. I'm asked almost on a regular basis, "are you going to require the students to wear a mask?" We will encourage students to wear a mask and masks will be provided for them on a limited basis. Each student will receive three washable masks. Teachers will also be given masks, however, it is not a requirement to wear a mask at this time. We will also encourage social distancing as much as possible every day. The Arkansas Department of Health has recommended that we be at least 6 feet apart and or wear a mask for the best results in combating the spread of COVID-19. Most of you have spent some time with your children explaining the importance of this but if you haven't, please do so before the start of school. This year, upon entrance to each building, employee's and student's temperature will be taken and a set of health questions asked. If their temperature is less than 100.4, they can enter. Of course, other or pre-existing policies remain in place also. Last but not least, visitors will not be allowed in the buildings except for emergencies or in the case of prior appointment. These are some changes taking place this year in order to protect everyone from COVID-19.
Other changes will include the method of instruction. Traditional in class instruction and paper AMI packets are a thing of the past. Instead, in class instruction will be blended with online learning delivered by internet or other means of technology. The plan is to provide a Chrome Book for every student so they can utilize the internet to receive instructions and turn in their lessons. For the students who do not have internet, hot spots will be available in different areas within the district for this purpose.
Vendors across the state are scrambling to provide curriculum that addresses state standards for instruction. So, frequently, we are receiving new information regarding methods of pushing out instruction and content for instruction. We will be using the same curriculum content as in the past in addition to Lincoln Empowerment (Content) for instruction. A Learning Management System (LMS) will be used to push out instruction to students at home. This will allow for an easy pivot from the traditional face-to-face instruction to online learning.
Please remember to do the survey we pushed out last week. It is vital to making decisions for the upcoming school year. Thank you, for your patience and understanding in these difficult times.
I hope you and your families are practicing social distancing and taking other precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Again, thank you for your support and stay safe.
Jerry Skidmore, Superintendent
Calico Rock School District
COVID-19 Update 3-13-20 #2
A press conference was held Thursday 3-13-20 at 1:30 pm by Governor Asa Hutchinson. Based the guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control it is NOT recommend to close schools unless a case of the virus has been confirmed in that community. The Governor has faith that the people of Arkansas will use good judgement in these matters and follow the protocol recommended by the CDC.
Johnny Key, Commissioner of Education says that based on CDC guidance, schools are the safest place for students to be unless they have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in their community. He said, It would not be prudent to interrupt the educational process where some students are receiving services in addition to education such as meals and mental health services that they depend on daily. Therefore, the focus is on keeping schools open at this time.
The total presumptive positive cases in Arkansas as of (3-13-20) is up to 9 and all of those cases are in the Little Rock area.