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Revised plan on reopening Little Rock School District buildings coming

by Cynthia Howell | July 9, 2020 at 7:23 p.m.
FILE — Little Rock School District headquarters are shown in this 2019 file photo.

The Little Rock School District intends to release an updated plan for the operation of schools in the 2020-21 school year on Monday, Superintendent Mike Poore said in a video and a set of talking points posted Thursday evening on the district’s website and sent to district families.

“We are proud of the work that we’ve done together [stakeholders and Little Rock School District team members] to develop LRSD’s Ready for Learning plan, which will be released this Monday as a framework,” Poore said, adding, “This does not mean that this plan is etched in stone and won’t change. If there is anything we’ve learned by now it’s that our plan will need to be flexible and we will need to adjust.”

The plan for the 23,000-student district continues to include provisions for both a virtual school and a traditional classroom setting, he said.

“We will do everything we can to make sure the level of instruction is awesome and will do everything we can to ensure safety for students and staff,” he said.

The Little Rock district posted Poore’s video message and talking points after Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key announced earlier Thursday that they are pushing the school year start date back from Aug. 13 to the last week of August.

“As a result of many developments, areas of our Ready for Learning plan will get tweaked,” Poore said. “One area is the school calendar. We hope to have a draft on Monday for you to review and provide feedback. This will also impact contract days for employees. We will be working on that over the next several days.”

Poore also said Thursday that the wearing of face masks will be an expectation.

“The expectation of using masks is one of the simplest and easiest ways to do the right thing to protect each other’s health,” he said.

He called masks a controversial topic “that really shouldn’t be.”

“It is important to wear a mask to protect not only ourselves, but those we love,” he said. “That expectation has to be a discipline. We need to have that discipline in the community and we also need to help educate our students about the social settings in which they are engaged.

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