Schools will be out for another three weeks in Arkansas.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that he was mandating that all K-12 schools will be closed through April 17 due to the increasing spread of coronavirus. Previously, schools were set to reopen after spring break on March 30.
The decision to close schools was to further contain the virus’ spread. However, Hutchinson says that instruction will continue through alternative means. Schools will use AMI (alternative methods of instruction) to administer education.
Arkansas Secretary of Education has authorized 10 full days of AMI. Hutchinson says the school closures will be reevaluated at the end of this period.
Key says the impact of this extended closure on end-of-year testing is unclear. He said that state officials are “looking at all the options” in regards to school testing and will continue to monitor the national discussion surrounding end-of-year testing.
This decision was made as the number of COVID-19 positive cases shot up by 29 since yesterday’s press conference. Hutchinson announced that there are now 62 positive cases in the state, up from the 33 cases previously announced.
Of the total number of positive cases, Smith cases that six positive cases have been children, 15 have been individuals 65 or older, and 41 have been individuals 19-64.
Nine new counties have reported positive cases of coronavirus since yesterday. The new counties include Clark, Bradley, Craighead, Poinsett, Independence, Pope, Searcy, Van Buren, and Sevier.
There are a total of 20 counties that have reported positive cases. The previous counties that had reported infections include Cleburne, Cleveland, Desha, Faulkner, Garland, Grant Jefferson, Lincoln, Pulaski, Saline, and Washington counties.