BREAKING NEWS: Arkansas public schools will not reopen for current school year, alternative methods of instruction to continue


At Monday’s statewide COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that state public schools will not reopen for on-site instruction in the 2019-2020 year. However, alternative methods of instruction (AMI) for the schools will continue through the end of the school year. The state’s agreement with AR PBS on AMIs will be extended to May 1, allowing time for school districts to develop further AMI plans.

Public schools were scheduled to re-open on April 17, and the governor applauded teachers and students for hanging in there and not giving up on the school year, but based on health concerns, the decision to close the schools was made.

Districts can also continue meal delivery as long as health guidelines are followed. Seniors will still graduate as long as they’re in good standing at the end of the third nine-week period, officials noted. But, local requirements will still be in effect for seniors.

In other news, Hutchinson stressed again that by utilizing social distancing and other guidelines, there’s indication that Arkansas’s efforts in slowing the spread is having an impact and is still helping the state beat projections.

Other announcements from the briefing:

  • Positive cases are now at 875, up 45 from Sunday. Just over 120 of those cases are health care workers. That figure is up eight from Sunday.
  • No new deaths were reported since Sunday, leaving the total at 16.
  • Just over 100 positive cases have recovered.
  • There are currently 75 hospitalized, up seven from Sunday.
  • Izard County is now on the list of counties with positive cases. The total number of counties with coronavirus is now at 65 counties.

Dr. Nate Smith, secretary at the Arkansas Department of Health, said the despite President Donald Trump’s push for the use of hydroxychloroquine as a possible COVID-19 treatment, the secretary said there is “very limited evidence” of the unproven treatment. He also noted side effects from such treatment could entail vision problems (including blindness), and cardiac patients might be sickened with their current meds and then the addition of hydroxychloroquine.


The new White River Now mobile app has started featuring regular COVID-19 updates and podcasts. In addition to the updates featured on the White River Now family of radio stations, the COVID-19 podcast section also features new interviews with Sen. James Sturch, Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin, Stone County Judge Stacey Avey, and state Rep. Stu Smith. Download the free White River Now app today from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and keep up-to-date on all local and state coronavirus information and to listen to the streams of White River Now radio stations.

We also carry live feeds of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19’s briefings on-air, on White River Now’s Facebook page, and through the White River Now app on Arkansas 103.3 KWOZ.

Layout 1Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.comBe sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the  White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

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