HOPE – The extension by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Thursday of the closure period for Arkansas public schools to April 17 in response to the COVID-19 illness will require expanded response measures by the Hope Public Schools and some changes during the three-week period.
“Governor Hutchinson delivered an announcement that K-12 schools in our state are to remain closed to in person instruction through April 17,” HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said. “Next week is Spring Break, and try to enjoy your time away from AMI packets and stay tuned to all HPS media outlets for further information regarding schools.”
Dr. Hart said the “Alternative Method of Instruction” packets delivered to all HPS students on March 16 will be supplemented to include instructional materials for days not covered in the original issuance.
“The goal of the AMI plan should be to strengthen and reinforce instructional content while supporting student learning outside the classroom environment,” the Arkansas Department of Education 2019-2020 AMI Guidance Document states.
The ADE guidance requires certain specifics in using a district’s AMI plan, including:
–If school is canceled due to an emergency or exceptional circumstance such as a contagious disease outbreak, inclement weather, or utility outage.
–AMI packets of instructional materials for the days involved are to be provided either on-line or in hard copies.
–Assignments should be differentiated for students based upon grade level, instructional need and education plan such as assignments combining math, science and language arts relative to the reason for the out-of-class days. An example might be lessons on weather, its impact, and how its effects are measured during a “snow day;” or game-based assignments incorporating current classroom study.
–Parents should be furnished information about where to find relevant announcements and expectations during AMI days.
Hart said campus websites will be used to provide information about AMI days, and campus principals will announce where and how additional AMI materials can be obtained after Spring Break.
The HPS and its food services vendor Aramark Food Services have distributed more than 700 breakfast/lunch “grab and go” meals for youth in Hope and Hempstead County since the imposition of the mandatory public schools closure.
The meals are distributed in a “drive through” format at these sites and times:
–MAC Center entrance at Hope High School, 1701 S. Main St., 12-1 p.m.;
–Hope Fair Park, 800 S. Mockingbird Lane, 12:30-1 p.m.;
–Hope Academy of Public Service bus line, 601 W. Sixth St., 12 -1 p.m.;
–Clinton Primary School bus line, 601 Lakeshore Dr.,12-1 p.m.;
–Calvary Baptist Church parking lot, 1301 W. Ave. B, 12-12:30 p.m.;
–Hotrod Barber Shop parking lot, 1301 N. Hazel St.,12:30 – 1 p.m.;
–Fulton-McNab City Park in Fulton, 3630 Hwy. 355, 12 – 12:30 p.m.
Meals will be available Monday through Friday during the closure. Meals will include lunch for each day and breakfast for the following day.
Numerous changes to school activities calendars have been created by the extended closure including:
–All athletics practices and events have been cancelled, and all athletics facilities closed, based upon guidance from the Arkansas Activities Association.
–All other interscholastic activities have also been cancelled, according to AAA.
–The Hope High School Powder Puff Football Classic set for April 1 has been postponed.
–The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery set for March 31 has been cancelled.
–The Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Military Ball has been cancelled. AFJROTC headquarters has also limited events to no more than 10 people, including events outside the classroom setting at school.
–The Hope High School Junior-Senior Prom set for April 10 will be postponed to a later date.
–Hope High School senior cap and gown pickup will be rescheduled.
–New student orientation at Hope Academy of Public Service will be rescheduled.
The Bobcat Clinic on the Hope High School campus will be closed during Spring Break from March 21-29; but, medical services for Hope Public Schools students and employees will be provided by the Hope Family Practice Center on Main Street through the week.
Bobcat Clinic Director Gretchen Carlton said appointments may be made by calling 870-777-8420.
Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1- 5 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to noon on Thursdays. However, the HFPC will be closed for training purposes March 24- 26.
“You will need to call for an appointment,” Carlton said. “Let them know you are a Bobcat Clinic patient when you call so you will not be asked to complete a new patient registration packet.”
Dr. Linda Clark, HPS social services coordinator, said her office will continue to monitor all relevant guidance during the extended closure, including housing availability. Dr. Clark said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced it will suspend evictions and foreclosures until the end of April.