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The Highland School District considers the safety of our students and community is a top priority.

We are following CDC guidelines and taking guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Department of Education. The ADE released a Commissioner's memo yesterday, March 11, stating “School and school activities will continue at this time, and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Health, shall provide guidance to local school districts and institutions of higher education to address concerns related to the virus and take all actions necessary to ensure the continuation of education. The Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, shall have sole authority to close public school campuses throughout the state for reasons related to COVID-19. The situation will be monitored closely.”

In a press conference earlier today, March 12, the Governor said Arkansas now has six presumptive cases of Coronavirus and closed school in the counties in which someone has tested positive.

If school is closed here, we do not know yet what that will look like, but we are also looking into how many of our students have internet access in case that is a direction we need to take. We have already used 4 of our 5 allotted AMI days, but the ADE has given us an additional 5 days to use if needed and packets are being sent out. At this point, there are many unknowns and we are trying to get answers to as many of those as possible.

We care deeply not only about the safety of our students but also about the safety of our community. We will have a community-wide health forum on Wednesday, March 18, at 1 p.m.

While we were originally going to make this face-to-face, it is suggested that large gatherings and crowds be avoided to reduce the spread of this virus. Because of that, we are going to conduct this health forum digitally. We will go live from the Highland School District Administration Building, and we will have representatives from the healthcare and public safety sectors. If you have questions you would like to submit prior to the forum, we will try to address them during that time.

We do not want to create panic, but we do want to be prepared.