HOPE – Reflecting the announcement by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key on Monday that public school campuses in Arkansas will remain closed to on-site instruction for the remainder of the school year, Hope Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said the focus of the HPS remains unchanged during the COVID-19 illness outbreak.
“I’m sure many of you have already seen the governor’s press conference announcing that on-site instruction will not be permitted for the remainder of the school year,” Dr. Hart said. “While we are disappointed, we know this sacrifice will save lives and prevent further infections.”
Hart said the use of Alternative Methods of Instruction materials will continue in keeping with Hutchinson and Key’s directives.
“Our focus now shifts to preparing instructional delivery in the best way possible,” Hart said, addressing HPS students. “Your building principal will continue to work with you and your faculty to provide instruction.”
Key said flexibility will be a necessity, but instruction should continue to focus upon math, science, social studies and literacy. Key said “full guidance” from school administrators, principals and teachers remains an expectation for all Arkansas public schools.
Hart commended the principals, teachers, students and parents of the HPS for their persistence and excellence.
“You all have done a tremendous job thus far, and I have no doubt you will continue to do so,” he said. “Please stay safe and stay connected for information as it becomes available.”
Key emphasized a number of points in his remarks Monday, including:
--High school seniors who were academically and otherwise in “good standing” when on campus instruction was suspended March 16 will be allowed to graduate.
--Graduation ceremonies and recognition should remain in compliance with directives from Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Health, but are to be determined locally.
--Arkansas public school teachers will continue to be responsible for “professional development” hours required annually, but with some flexibility regarding how they are attained.
--The cancellation of the ACT Aspire will have an impact upon how Arkansas treats the annual “school report card” for the 2019-2020 academic year.
--The return to on-campus instruction for the 2020-2021 academic year will be affected to some extent by the closure, but how that will be addressed has not been determined.