Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner issues update to COVID-19 guidance for schools


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key released an update to COVID-19 guidance for schools Tuesday.

The update includes guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health advising the use of cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus.

According to the Arkansas Ready for Learning Re-engagement to Onsite Instruction document, students over the age of 10 are strongly recommended to wear a face covering while riding on the bus. It is also recommended that students under the age of 10 wear a face covering “where practical”, according to the document.

The document also states that drivers and aides on the bus wear a face covering or mask.

Janitorial staff is also instructed to use face masks and other personal protective equipment when performing cleaning duties, according to the document.

According to an addition memo mentioned in the commissioner’s Tuesday update, DESE amended the definition of an “absence” to mean:

“A student is absent if the student is not:

  1. present for onsite instruction provided by the district,
  2. participating in a planned district-approved activity, or
  3. engaged in scheduled instruction at an off-site location, including remote learning.”

Tuesday’s memo also states districts should submit their assurances for Arkansas Ready for Learning by Friday.

The State Board of Education will meet Monday, June 29 to review the applications, according to the commissioner’s memo.

To read the full memo, click here.

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