HPS 'Point of Contact' is official

HOPE – A single authoritative “Point of Contact” regarding COVID-19 response by the Hope Public Schools has been designated by the HPS Board and the Arkansas Department of Health.

Bobcat Clinic Director Gretchen Carlton was named the district “point of contact” by the school board Aug. 17, and Carlton announced the state’s recognition of her authority today.

“We have a Point of Contact identified to be our liaison with the Arkansas Department of Health and a process in place to help minimize the risk in our schools,” Carlton said.

She said ADH is the official source for COVID-19 case identification.

“The Arkansas Department of Health is identifying confirmed cases on the county level,” Carlton said. “If there are cases associated with students or staff in the school district, the student or staff member will be notified by health department officials.”

 The Hope Public Schools will not comment upon nor release case information in keeping with state and federal law.

“For the privacy of students and staff, the district will not share any information,” Carlton said. “We are committed to providing the safest learning environment, and will follow the guidance provided by the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Education in conjunction with the Arkansas Department of Health.”

She said parents, guardians and HPS employees are asked to abide by the ADH-directed protocol for COVID-19 response.

“In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our staff and student body, we are asking parents/guardians, and all employees to notify our designated Point of Contact immediately when any of the following occurs:

--Someone in the household has tested positive for COVID-19.

--Someone in the household has been identified as a Close Contact to a positive case of COVID-19 requiring quarantine and/or recommended for COVID-19 testing.

--Students attending classes on-site or employees are tested for COVID-19.

--Students or staff who are symptomatic for COVID-19 and are required to remain in quarantine pending results of COVID-19 testing.”

Carlton said all notifications from parents or students should come to her either at 870-331-1052, or by email at gretchen.carlton@hpsdistrict.org online.

“Thank you in advance for your cooperation,” Carlton said. “Together we can help keep our Hope School District family safe, healthy, and ready to learn during this unique time.”

Information from the ADH on school district cases of five or more is updated each Monday and Thursday under the “educational institutions” button on the ADH website at https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-reports online.