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story.lead_photo.caption Johnny Key, Secretary of the Department of Education, addresses the media during daily press conference on Arkansas' response to COVID19 on Saturday, April 25, 2020. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Stephen Swofford) - Photo by Stephen Swofford

The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education has released a list of school-related education activities and programs -- such as individual and small-group summer tutoring -- that can resume on campuses, effective June 1.

The agency describes the list of permitted activities as being "limited" and subject to current health directives. Additionally, the memo states that school bus transportation of students is not allowed as part of the activities.

The list of activities and programs was released Thursday evening as one in a series of updates to a March 2 memorandum to schools titled "Guidance for Schools Regarding Covid-19."

School campuses have been closed to all on-site instruction and activities since at least March 17 in an effort to contain the spread of the contagious and potentially fatal covid-19 disease.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

The permissible activities are:

• Summer school: individual and small-group tutoring.

• Advanced Placement makeup testing.

• June ACT testing center.

• Career and technical education industry certification testing.

• Special-education evaluations.

• Individual evaluations or screener for educational purposes.

• Counseling sessions.

• Occupational and physical therapy.

• Speech therapy.

• Credit recovery.

• Summer feeding.

• Summer workers.

• Senior pictures.

• On-site professional development for staff.

• Early-childhood programs or Department of Human Services-licensed child care programs.

• Summer day camps.

The memorandum links to a spreadsheet document that has specific directives for the re-entry to the on-site summer programs.

Those directives deal with the types of personal protection equipment that will be required in different circumstances; the process of picking up and dropping off students; the scheduling of restroom breaks; possible suspension of water fountain use; use of the playgrounds; on-site meals; avoidance of shared materials; and how to transition students in hallways.

Agency leaders in the memorandum said that while the activities are permitted, "we would encourage as little on-campus activity as possible this summer to allow the best chance possible of starting the school year with the lowest levels/risk of community COVID-19.

"Remaining cautious now increases the likelihood that we will be in Phase 2 or Phase 3 of recovery by August," the memo said in reference to the stages for resuming all of the activities and services that have been curtailed because of the disease.

The memo to school districts and charter school leaders -- who serve more than 470,000 public school students -- went on to note that transportation of students is not allowed under the current health guidance.

"Schools must continue to seek alternatives to support students" such as virtual summer school, online or tele-therapy, and delivery of food and educational materials, the memo says about the lack of student bus service.

The memorandum does say, however, that when schools resume on-campus instruction in the fall, "busing will be allowed with as many precautions as reasonable."

More guidance from the state is to come on transportation and all other school operations.

The announcement of the June 1 resumption of limited activities on school campuses comes as the result of the Elementary and Secondary Education Division's consultation with the Department of Health and the state's Economic Recovery Task Force, the memo said.

Metro on 05/23/2020

Print Headline: Schools to open up for some activities

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