Main Street goes virtual learning today, Wednesday


The Hot Springs School District said Monday that the Main Street Visual & Performing Arts Magnet School will switch to AMI Virtual Days today and Wednesday, citing a “large number” of positive COVID-19 cases among students and members of the staff.

The school building will be closed to students and all work will take place online only during those two days, the district announced on the school’s Facebook page on Monday afternoon.

Hot Springs Superintendent Stephanie Nehus said in an interview that the district will speak with state education officials to determine if they can resume in-person learning after Wednesday on this campus.

“HSSD fights hard and works diligently to ensure the safety of students and staff, while continuing to facilitate learning in the classrooms of our schools,” she said Monday.

“Like the school districts in the Garland County area and the state of Arkansas, we have a high number of COVID-19 cases,” she said. Even so, we are committed to taking precautions and following protocols provided to us by state education and health officials.

All other HSSD schools are open and continuing as normal, with strict protocols in place, she said.

The Hot Springs Trojans and Lady Trojans canceled their college and junior basketball games on Friday, January 7 and today due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, according to Rodney Echols, athletic director of the school district. Monday’s college basketball games and those scheduled for Thursday have also been called off.

“We are currently working with other schools to reschedule games at the moment,” Echols said. “No date has been confirmed.”

Nehus said the district was following the latest guidelines from health officials, which allow shortened five-day return options for asymptomatic people after being quarantined.

“The best thing our families can do is keep the children home when they are sick and get them tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible,” Nehus said.

The district has released updates following updates last week by the Elementary and Secondary Education Division of the Arkansas Department of Education on the overall COVID-19 response levels for learning on the spot. In addition to the ongoing safety precautions that must be taken, it includes updates regarding what to do if one is positive for COVID-19, or is a “probable close contact”, and new dates of. return based on updated guidelines.

As of late Friday, there were 100 cases of COVID-positive students in the district and 19 staff. The cumulative total, since the start of the school year on August 16, 2021, was 227 students and 60 staff (since their return on August 9, 2021) who have tested positive for the virus.

According to the updated guidelines, if an individual tests positive for COVID, they must self-isolate at home for five days from the onset of symptoms or, if asymptomatic, five days from the date of. positive test. If other students live at home with the COVID-positive person and are not vaccinated, they should also self-quarantine away from school and isolate themselves from their positive sibling for five days. If isolation is not possible, they must self-quarantine for 10 days.

Isolation separates those who are infected from those who are not, while quarantine separates and restricts movement of people exposed to the virus to see if they get sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The directive says that if a student tests positive for COVID-19, he or his family should contact the district COVID-19 contact point, Adriane Barnes, or the school principal as soon as possible.

“Early detection is the best way to slow the spread of the virus to other students,” he said.

If an individual is in “likely close contact” – within 3 feet for more than 15 minutes within 24 hours of a positive test or developing symptoms – with an individual to whom they are exposed during an event or not. anywhere outside his home, they should self-quarantine for five days. As long as the person remains asymptomatic, they can return after the five-day quarantine period.

The district strongly recommends that the person take a quick COVID-19 test the day before they return, or in the morning, as the district has them available at all of their schools and district office. However, rapid tests are only available to students and HSSD staff.

The district has been approved by the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Education to participate in the Test-to-Stay program, but students can also avoid being sent home to quarantine. if they have received their COVID-19 vaccine, even if exposed to someone who tested positive.

At Main Street Magnet, teachers will provide students with homework through their Chromebooks, and have group breakfasts and lunches available for pickup on both days available to all families from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. that families can pick up at the front of the building, the Facebook post says.

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic, facilitated by CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs for vaccine and booster, will be held this Friday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the HSSD Visitor Center, 702 Main Street.

Additional clinics will be held at Elementary Schools and the HSSD Visitor Center, as well as Hot Springs Junior Academy and Hot Springs World Class High School due to increased demand.

More information can be found on the District’s COVID-19 webpage at https://bit.ly/3r4FDnT.

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