• Safe Return and Continuity of Service 2021-22

    Content on this page may be updated as new information becomes available. Last updated October 13, 2021.


    To view FSPS COVID Updates, please visit the FSPS COVID Updates Page on the FSPS Website


    If a student or parent/guardian needs to report a positive Covid case or situation to the district, we ask that students and parents/guardians first inform the school nurse at their school during school hours. The school nurse will then follow the protocols for reporting the positive case or situation to the district point of contact. If a student or parent/guardian needs to report a positive Covid case or situation to the district after school hours, please call this number: 479-651-4157.


    Although there are parts of the overall safety plan that require guidance from the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), FSPS continues:

    1. High level disinfection of classrooms, buildings and touch points daily,
    2. Following current quarantine procedures, and
    3. Maintaining as much distance between students as is possible in district classrooms and enclosed spaces.

    Cleaning and Disinfecting Classrooms

    One of the most important things that FSPS will continue to do is practice high level cleaning protocols designed with CDC guidance to disinfect buildings, classrooms and touch points daily.


    UPDATE: FSPS Mask Requirement Removed

    As a part of the Oct. 11 Called Board Meeting, the Fort Smith Public Schools Board of Education voted 4 to 3 to remove the current mask requirement for students, staff and visitors effective immediately. Read more here.

    FSPS Board Approves 60-Day Mask Requirement 

    The Fort Smith Public Schools (FSPS) Board of Education approved a 60-day mask requirement for all who are present in school buildings. The resolution is effective immediately. It does not require students, staff and visitors to wear face coverings outside, during meals or other special circumstances. The Board will review the requirements of the resolution and current COVID conditions at its upcoming meetings. 

    Please view a PDF of the Resolution on the FSPS Website.

    Note: Preschool students will not be required to wear masks during the 2021-22 school year.

    DESE 2021-2022 COVID-19 Guidance for Schools

    The PDF linked above was originally published by DESE on Tuesday, July 27 and updated on August 10, 2021. The PDF is embedded at the end of this page.

    Learning Options

    Learning options for the 2021-22 school year include in-person or virtual learning. There will be no additional virtual enrollment opportunities until the second semester of the 2021-22 school year.

    Vaccination Opportunities 

    FSPS encourages staff members and students eligible and interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine to visit the Arkansas Department of Health Website for vaccination locations available in their area. FSPS will continue to share local vaccination opportunities with FSPS families and staff as they are made available.

    Quarantine Guidelines

    FSPS will follow state guidance for quarantine procedures during the 2021-22 school year:

    Fully Vaccinated

    Fully-vaccinated students or staff do not need to quarantine if deemed close contacts, unless they have/develop symptoms.

    • The CDC defines a close contact as an individual confirmed to have been within six feet for 15 cumulative minutes or longer within a 24-hour period during the infectious period of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

    Exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 

    Individuals exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will not need to be quarantined if they have no symptoms and both the infected and exposed individual consistently and correctly were wearing a mask.

    • Individuals not fully vaccinated who are exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will quarantine for 7, 10 or 14 days. 

    No Symptoms Quarantine Period

    Based on current CDC guidance, the quarantine period can end for individuals experiencing no symptoms according to the following guidelines:

    1. After 10 full 24-hour periods since close contact exposure without testing, or
    2. After seven full 24-hour periods since close contact exposure and after receiving a negative test result (sample taken no earlier than five 24-hour periods after exposure).

    Note: If individuals return to school from these shorter quarantine windows, they should regularly monitor themselves for symptoms to ensure they remain symptom-free and take appropriate precautions (e.g., consistent mask usage) for the duration of the 14-day incubation period.

    Testing positive for COVID-19 

    A person who tests positive for COVID-19 is still required to isolate at home for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or, if asymptomatic, 10 days from the positive test date. A person who is immunosuppressed or was hospitalized may need a longer isolation period of 20 days.

    Helpful Flow Chart

    Individuals who are fully vaccinated should follow this chart below for quarantine. 

    Flowchart from DESE


    Mask wearing is required on buses. Riders should maintain as much physical distance as possible while on the bus. 

    Visitors in Buildings

    FSPS will allow visitors to the school buildings. Visitors are highly encouraged to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the school buildings. Masks are required for all visitors to FSPS school buildings.

    Distancing in Classrooms

    FSPS will continue to maintain as much distance between students as is possible in district classrooms and enclosed spaces.

    Outside Food and Drink

    Lunch may be brought from home by students. However, no lunch deliveries by outside vendors or parents are allowed. This also includes deliveries of flowers, balloons and other gifts.

    Water Access

    Students may bring their own refillable water bottles to use at the water filling stations at their school building. Water fountains will not be available for use. 

    Field Trips

    This topic is being discussed further.


    Fort Smith Public Schools will encourage students and staff to frequently wash their hands and use hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of germs. 

    Self-Screening for COVID-19 

    FSPS encourages students (with family support depending on age and ability) and staff to self-screen for any COVID-19 symptoms before arriving at their school campus or building. 

    Anyone with a fever of 100 or higher should not come to school or a FSPS facility for 48 hours. They should be fever-free for 48 hours before returning. FSPS Student Health Guidelines as listed in the Student Handbook (pp. 9 and 10) continue to apply. “Parents should not send a student to school who has a fever of 100 degrees or greater.”

    Students and staff may be subject to periodic temperature checks for verification, especially if they are feeling ill or suspected of having a fever during the school day. Each campus has a touch-free forehead thermometer to check/verify temperatures throughout the day. Anyone with a 100 or higher temperature will need to leave school. Staff are required to notify their immediate supervisors if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are presenting COVID-19 symptoms.

    Response Protocol

    In the event of a confirmed case or cases of COVID-19 in our district, school leadership will contact its District Point of Contact (POC) who will report cases as quickly as possible to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). When possible, the school nurse or trained school personnel will be the first point of contact for student health concerns.


    Renting FSPS Facilities by Outside Parties

    This topic is being discussed further.

    Helpful Links

    District Contact Information

    Beginning Monday, August 9, the District will resume normal business hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Here is the FSPS School Directory. The Service Center is located at 3205 Jenny Lind Road in Fort Smith. If you have a question, please email 'questions@fortsmithschools.org' and a staff member knowledgeable about your question will respond as soon as possible.

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