Arkansas Education Association calls for virtual start of school year


The Arkansas Education Association (AEA) is calling on the state to begin the ’20-’21 school year through virtual-only instruction.

According to a release from the AEA, AEA President Carol Fleming told state lawmakers Monday it is unsafe for schools to return to in-person learning as Arkansas continues to struggle to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Fleming also shared a set of principles and expectations that must be met to keep students, educators, and our communities safe once conditions allow for a return to in-person learning.

The AEA Return to Learn Committee created the school reopening matrix to guide any decisions about the upcoming school year. The committee is made up of educators from across the state who have used their own expertise, along with guidance from health professionals to create the guidance, according to the release.

Fleming asked state lawmakers to join the AEA’s call for education officials to make a conscientious decision to keep children, educators, and communities safe by beginning the 20-21 school year with virtual only instruction.

“While we agree in-person education is the best thing for students, moving kids and educators in and out of school-based on isolation and quarantine protocols will be too risky and too disruptive to the teaching and learning environment,” Fleming said. “Let’s work together to maximize the next two weeks to ensure that we keep students and educators safe, and prepare for a new way to deliver education and support until we can get this virus under control.”

Fleming’s remarks were made to the Education Caucus of the Arkansas General Assembly.  Sen. Alan Clark and Rep. Mark Lowery called the meeting to hear from stakeholders on the topic: “COVID-19 School or Not?”

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