HPS Puts COVID-19 Plan in Place Quickly

HOPE – Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart expressed pride Monday night to the HPS Board regarding the response of district administrators, staff, principals, teachers, and students to the closure of schools in Arkansas resulting from the COVID-19 illness.

“I am very proud of the work our team did,” Dr. Hart said.

Hart said within an hour of the announcement March 13 by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson that all schools in Arkansas will be closed until March 30, the HPS had its response activated.

He said all five campuses had prepared Alternative Method of Instruction packets for students sufficient for a 10-day school closure. Hart said the official closure through March 19 currently requires only three days of AMI materials, which were issued to students Monday. He said no classes were scheduled for Friday, March 17, because of previously planned, but cancelled, parent-teacher conferences.

Hart also noted spring break for the district, March 23-27, will be observed during the official closure period, thereby, not requiring additional AMI content to be issued at this time.

“We feel like we are prepared for a minimum of 10 days if that is needed,” Hart said.

Both HPS employees and personnel from facilities maintenance contractor ABM began a “deep clean” of all Hope Public Schools facilities Tuesday. Over the period from March 16 -19, crews will do two disinfectant cleaning sweeps, according to HPS Facilities and Transportation Director Maurice Henry.

Hart told the school board the Bobcat Clinic at Hope High School is prepared for screening appointments March 16-19 for physical health services from 7:30 – 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Callers to the clinic at 870-722-2733 should chose Option 2 to speak with a receptionist in order to answer basic COVID-19 screening questions while scheduling appointments.

Symptomatic patients should call before arriving and remain in their vehicle in order to be screened and tested, according to Bobcat Clinic Director Gretchen Carlton.

Hart also noted a special free meals program for children ages 18 and under will be operated by the district through March 27. He said schedules for the eight feeding sites for breakfast and lunch “grab and go” meals are posted on the district and each campus website and Facebook page.

Hart said principals will maintain daily contact with the district for necessary updates.

“I think we are in a lot better shape than what we could ask for,” Hart said.

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