Since my update to you earlier this morning on the COVID-19 virus, the regional risks to the general population in central Arkansas have increased. As a result, eStem, along with all public schools in Pulaski County, will be closed from Friday, March 13th (tomorrow) through Friday, March 27th.
While we have not had any confirmed instances of direct contact of an eStem student or staff member with anyone who is confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus, this is the right precautionary decision for our students, our staff and our wider community. As I indicated previously, I have spoken repeatedly with officials at the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Education who have helped guide us through this process.
I know you are wondering what this means for you and your children. Beginning this evening through March 29th, all eStem school activities will be cancelled. This includes athletic and other extracurricular activities. We hope to return to normal activity on Monday, March 30th; however, that will depend on conditions in the area at that time.
The Arkansas Department of Education has approved us to use Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) days to ensure that your child will have academically stimulating activities and assignments to complete during this extended break. We will begin AMI implementation on Monday, and you can anticipate more specific information/instructions from your child’s school director and teachers by the end of the day tomorrow.
Out of an abundance of caution, I encourage all families to evaluate their Spring Break travel plans and implement proper hand washing techniques and other protocols per the guidance from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you have any questions, please email me or call my office at 501-324-9202.
John Bacon, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer