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COVID-19 Updates

Important: Fort Smith Public Schools Offices are closed for the time being. If you have questions for a member of the Service Center, Parker Center or Rogers Center staff, please use this email "questions@fortsmithschools.org". Include your name, question and contact information and your question will be forwarded to the appropriate contact. That contact will respond as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.
 
New: FSPS Resource Guides (English) (Español)
 
 
 
March 30, 2020 - 11:50 AM
The Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas PBS have partnered to provide Arkansas AMI Learning Guides and special TV programming starting today, March 30. For more information, including viewing times, TV channels, FAQs and more, visit https://bit.ly/ArkansasAMI.
 
 
March 27, 2020 - 11:50 AM 
 
Fort Smith Public Schools is encouraging residents to please follow the city and county guidance on playground equipment use for all FSPS playgrounds as well. We appreciate our community's support during these unprecedented times.
 
"Following the lead of Sebastian County Judge, David Hudson, the City of Fort Smith Parks & Recreation Department has limited access to specific playground equipment at Fort Smith City Parks. Doing all we can to slow the spread of COVID-19, the City of Fort Smith is taking measures to safeguard the public health. Following the recommendations from the CDC, ADH, and Governor Hutchinson. This order will include all City owned parks.
 
"Director of the Parks & Recreation Department, Doug Reinert stated “as temperatures warm up we want to go outside for fresh air. However, we must continue to practice social distancing and be aware of our surrounding. Covid-19 can remain on plastic and metal surfaces for days. Therefore, we must refrain from using playground equipment and exercise equipment in our parks. Ride your bikes, hike, go for a walk or go for a run but, remain at least 6ft away from others. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often. Social gatherings of more than ten (10) are banned per directive from Governor Hutchinson”."
 
 
March 26, 2020 - 3:15 PM

Fort Smith Public Schools will serve grab-and-go breakfast and lunch at its 19 Elementary Schools beginning Monday, March 30, through Friday, April 17. Meals will be served from 11 AM to 1 PM during regularly scheduled school calendar days. Meals will not be served on Friday, April 10 (Good Friday Holiday - No School) or Monday, April 13 (Professional Development/Student Holiday).

**As of March 26, FSPS has opted-in to the USDA Waiver allowing parent/guardian pick-up for meals. Approval to participate was granted by the Arkansas DESE Child Nutrition Unit. FSPS is working to implement the new guidance and will provide more information soon for parents.

  • Meals are free and available to all children ages 1-18.
  • Children or parents may pick up meals.
  • Children may go to any location to receive meals.
  • Child Nutrition Staff will serve meals at the building front entrance.
  • Adults can purchase meals for $2.50 for breakfast and $4.00 for lunch.

On Monday, March 30, students will receive three meals at pick-up: Monday breakfast, Monday lunch, and Tuesday breakfast. Thereafter, students will receive two meals at pick-up: lunch for the day of pick-up and breakfast for the next day.

Fort Smith Public Schools encourages following CDC Guidelines for social distancing when picking up grab-and-go meals at these locations. Students will not be able to access lockers, classrooms or other areas of the school during this time. 

Elementary School Locations Serving Grab-and-Go Breakfast and Lunch


  1. Ballman: 2601 South Q Street
  2. Barling: 1400 D Street in Barling
  3. Beard: 1600 Cavanaugh Road
  4. Bonneville: 2500 South Waldron Road
  5. Carnall: 2524 South Tulsa Street
  6. Cavanaugh: 1025 School Street
  7. Cook: 3517 Brooken Hill Drive
  8. Euper Lane: 6601 Euper Lane
  9. Fairview: 2400 South Dallas Street
  10. Howard: 1301 North 8th Street
  11. Morrison: 3415 Newlon Road
  12. Orr: 3609 Phoenix Avenue
  13. Pike: 4111 Park Avenue
  14. Spradling: 4949 Spradling Avenue
  15. Sunnymede: 4201 North O Street
  16. Sutton: 5001 Kelley Highway
  17. Tilles: 815 North 16th Street
  18. Trusty: 3300 Harris Avenue
  19. Woods: 3201 Massard Road
 
March 25, 2020 - 2:25 PM
 

Class of 2020 Senior Update from NHS and SHS:

Beginning Monday, March 30, parents and guardians of seniors will be contacted by telephone to discuss their graduation standing. Our goal is to make contact with all seniors by April 3rd. Please be watching for this call, as we work to make sure all of our seniors complete their requirements for graduation!

March 24, 2020 - 4:30 PM

AT&T Partners with Kahn Academy to Provide Educational Resources for Distance Learning 

AT&T joined forces with the Kahn Academy to bring some much needed relief to schools - both large and small - who are attempting to keep educating our state’s youth. The $10 million fund will support parents, teachers and students throughout the COVID-19 closures. It will create a Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund so that everyone can have the tools they need for at-home learning. 

This collaboration will improve and expand online learning resources to meet growing demand from parents, teachers and students, including those who rely on free resources and need Khan Academy the most. It will also support the development of new resources designed specifically for COVID-19 school closures. Available in more than 40 languages, Khan Academy offers educational practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empowers students to study at home. Khan Academy also offers free tools for teachers and parents to help them track student progress. 

You can sign up for Khan Academy for free by visiting KhanAcademy.org

Read the full press release here: https://about.att.com/story/2020/distance_learning_family_connections.html

March 24, 2020 - 3:30 PM

Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club Grab and Go Meals Extended through the Weekend

Meals provided by the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club have been extended through the weekend, including Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29. Kids 18 and under eat free. Adults can purchase breakfast for $1 and lunch for $2. Meals in a sack are provided at pick-up sites near the front entry.

Stephens Boy & Girls Club
3101 North 6th Street • Breakfast 9 am-10am • Lunch 12pm-1pm

Jeffrey Boys & Girls Club
4905 N. “O” Street • Breakfast 9 am-10am • Lunch 12:10pm-1:10pm 

Goldtrap Boys & Girls Club
8800 South Dallas • Breakfast 9:15am-10:15am • Lunch: 12:15pm-1:15pm

Evans Boys & Girls Club
6015 Boys Club Lane • Breakfast 9:15am-10:15am • Lunch: 12:30pm-1:30pm

March 24, 2020 - 2:00 PM

FSPS Elementary Art Teachers Create Art Website

Fort Smith Public Schools Elementary Art Teachers have created a website featuring artistic digital resources for parents to use at home with their kids. Click here to access the site: https://bit.ly/fspsart 

The site includes:

  • Digital Art Making Sites
  • Fun Artsy Videos
  • Digital Art Apps
  • Virtual Museum Tours for Kids
  • Instructional Art Videos and T.V. Shows

Continue to visit the site to stay updated on the newest resources being added daily.

March 24, 2020 - 12:30 PM

Cox Communications & AT&T Offer Low-Cost Internet

Two local providers in our area, Cox Communications and AT&T, are both offering affordable ways to connect to the Internet. 

  • Cox Communications, through its Connect2Compete program, is offering low-cost Internet service available to qualifying families. The first 60 days of Connect2Compete service is free through May 15, $9.95/month thereafter. Click here to sign up.

  • AT&T, through its Access from AT&T program, is offering two months of free service to new Access customers who order by April 30, 2020. $5/mo or $10/mo thereafter, depending on your speed. New Access from AT&T customers will get two months of free service. Click here to sign up.


Please continue to check the FSPS COVID-19 Updates page at bit.ly/fspscovidupdates for further updates on Internet availability.

March 24, 2020 - 11:15 AM

Spring Preschool Registration, Kindergarten and New Student Pre-Registration Postponed Indefinitely 

The following programs have been postponed indefinitely:

  • Spring Preschool Registration
  • Kindergarten Pre-Registration
  • New Student Pre-Registration 

Please watch the COVID-19 Updates on the FSPS Website for new information for these programs: http://bit.ly/2IixS83  

March 23, 2020 - 12:45 PM

Class of 2020 Update Regarding Graduation

On March 19, we learned that all Arkansas public schools will be closed to on-site instruction through April 17. This has led to questions about activities currently planned for later in the spring semester, such as graduation and prom. 

As Fort Smith Public Schools continue planning for the future, school and district leaders continue to closely monitor guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This guidance currently includes limitations on gatherings.

We know that you are excited and anxious about traditional end-of-year graduation events. It is very important that there be opportunities to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments as seniors. As this situation continues to unfold, we will share information as it becomes available. Today, we have received clarification on several very important questions.

Click here to read the rest of this update: https://bit.ly/33JS1xI

March 23, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Watch: Dr. Peter Lin shares the facts about COVID-19 and what we can do to prevent it from spreading. This video was originally published February 1 on CBS News.

Watch: https://youtu.be/kIL5m5XznNY

March 23, 2020 - 8:30 AM

The Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club will be serving free Grab-and-Go meals the week of Spring Break (March 23-27). Kids 18 and under eat free. Adults can purchase breakfast for $1 and lunch for $2. Meals in a sack are provided at pick-up sites near the front entry. 

Stephens Boy & Girls Club

3101 North 6th Street

Breakfast 9 am-10am

Lunch 12pm-1pm 

Jeffrey Boys & Girls Club

4905 N. “O” Street

Breakfast 9 am-10am

Lunch 12:10pm-1:10pm 

Goldtrap Boys & Girls Club

8800 South Dallas

Breakfast 9:15am-10:15am

Lunch: 12:15pm-1:15pm

Evans Boys & Girls Club

6015 Boys Club Lane

Breakfast 9:15am-10:15am

Lunch: 12:30pm-1:30pm

March 20, 2020 - 1:50 PM 

On March 20, 2020 at 10:42 AM, the Arkansas Activities Association published on Twitter that it is extending the “Dead Period” for all AAA member schools through April 17, 2020. 

The statement reads: 

“With guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health, Governor’s Office and the Arkansas Department of Education the AAA will extend the Dead Period for all AAA member schools through April 17, 2020. The safety of our student-athletes is our first priority. All decisions remain flexible and will be consistent with the advice of local, state and national officials.”

AAA dead period  

March 20, 2020 - 12:30 PM

COVID-19 Testing Site

A COVID-19 Testing Site has been set up in the River Valley. The testing site is by appointment only. If you are concerned that you or a family member needs to be screened for COVID-19, please call the Screening Call Center at 479-289-6508 and then you will be asked a few screening questions to determine if you need to have an appointment made to the Baptist - Mercy Testing/Screening site. The call center is available Monday - Friday from 8 am to 8 pm.

Dial 211 for Community Services Information

211 is a free 24/7 telephone service that connects individuals in need to important community services in the state of Arkansas. 2-1-1 is the direct link between people who need help and people who can give help. 211 can be accessed by dialing 211 or going to www.arkansas211.org. You can also reach 211 in Arkansas by texting your zip code to 898-211.

March 20, 2020 - 11:15 AM

Mercy, Baptist Health Set Up COVID-19 Call Center

A hotline has been established for Fort Smith and River Valley residents concerned about Covid-19. The number to call is (479) 289-6508. The call center is available Monday - Friday from 8 am to 8 pm.

The call center will allow callers to ask questions about COVID-19 and be screened by trained clinical staff who will determine whether the caller should be sent to a testing site staffed by health care workers from Mercy Fort Smith and Baptist Health.

Callers do not have to be a patient at either hospital to use the hotline.

For more information, visit: https://www.mercy.net/newsroom/2020-03-19/mercy--baptist-health-set-up-covid-19-call-center/ or 

https://www.baptist-health.com/news/baptist-health-establishes-24-7-hotline-for-covid-19-questions/

March 20, 2020 - 9:30 AM

FSPS District offices and schools are closed through April 17. If you have a question, please email questions@fortsmithschools.org with your name, question and any other details that will help us best answer your question.

We will be posting updates to our COVID-19 Updates on the FSPS Website: http://bit.ly/2IixS83. Please visit this page for the latest information from FSPS. We appreciate your patience as we adapt to this rapidly changing situation.

March 19, 2020 - 9:10 PM

HR Update: Preparing for Extended School Closure

A Message from Dr. Brubaker, Superintendent 

Colleagues,

As a school district and as a community, we have been adapting to changing conditions and working through challenges as quickly as possible over the past several weeks. Earlier this afternoon, we learned that Arkansas schools have been closed to on-site instruction through April 17. The need to prolong that closure will be reassessed by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as that date approaches. 

As we prepare for this extended closure, I just wanted to reach out and thank you for all of your hard work. I am beyond impressed by all that I am seeing you accomplish. I admire the many innovative ways that you are working with students in order to continue the learning process and maintain relationships with families. Thank you for your leadership and your ongoing focus on meeting the needs of kids. You are doing an outstanding job. 

I know that you have a lot of questions as we now plan to continue to provide the best possible experience for students over the next several weeks. As we learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on our area and develop plans to support students and staff during this challenging time, we will continue to share that information with you using our COVID-19 Updates page and other available channels. 

Our instructions from the ADH include limiting access to school buildings. You will have temporary access to your school buildings from 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. tomorrow. Please practice the CDC recommendation to use social distancing. Try to be quick about getting your materials together and leaving the building. 

I hope that you will take the opportunity to rest, recharge, and enjoy time with your family during the coming week. Thank you again for your hard work on behalf of our students. 

Best regards, 

Doug Brubaker, Ph.D.

Superintendent

Fort Smith Public Schools

March 19, 2020 - 2:45 PM

Notice: Under the direction of Governor Asa Hutchinson, Fort. Smith Public Schools will remain closed through Friday, April 17. More information will be made available as we adapt to this rapidly changing situation. We will publish all FSPS updates related to COVID-19 on the FSPS website. The direct link is: http://bit.ly/2IixS83  

To watch the Governor's announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgVBoWWCfzQ&feature=youtu.b  

March 19, 2020 - 2:20 PM

The Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club will be serving free Grab-and-Go meals on Friday, March 20, and the week of Spring Break (March 23-27). Kids 18 and under eat free. Adults can purchase breakfast for $1 and lunch for $2. See image for dates, times and locations.

Future School of Fort Smith will be serving free breakfast and lunch on Friday, March 20, from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM for kids 18 and under, at their school location, 622 North 7th Street. Adults can purchase breakfast for $2.00 and lunch for $3.00.

 grb and go

March 18, 2020 - 9:00 PM

A note from Dr. Brubaker, Superintendent:

I am in awe of the many ways that FSPS educators are using many different kinds of technology to collaborate, problem-solve, hone their distance learning skills, and participate in professional development, ... all in order to help students continue learning. #FSPSProud

HS students and educators got 1:1 last summer; 7-9 district-wide 1:1 started last year. Elem. led the way with key pilots expanding to 1:1 in grades 3-6 and more tech for K-2. Educators' skill & PD + community investment + ongoing support = benefits for kids! #FSPSTeachersRock 

March 18, 2020 - 3:30 PM

Cindy Mitchell, BSN, RN, and Lead Nurse at Fort Smith Public Schools, has provided a resource for parents entitled: "Health at Home" resources for COVID-19 school closures" by CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health). Click to access these free resources via Google Classroom: https://www.catch.org/pages/health-at-home

health at home

March 17, 2020 - 3:45 PM

Technical Support for Students

Who do I call if there is a problem with a school-issued Chromebook?

The FSPS Technology Department will be available to students for technical support March 18-20 and March 23-25.

If your student has a technical issue with their school-issued Chromebook, please send an email to: studenthelpdesk@fortsmithschools.org 

Please include the student's First and Last Names, the name of the school they attend, and a description of the problem.

If you are unable to send or receive an email, you may call this number: 479-784-8130 Ext. 2303

In the event that a school-issued device needs to be repaired, Technology Department personnel will be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rogers Center. The address is listed below.

To help expedite matters, please send an email to studenthelpdesk@fortsmithschools.org prior to arriving at the support location.

FSPS Technical Support

Rogers Center  - Fort Smith Public Schools

2901 Kinkead Avenue

Fort Smith, AR 72901 

March 17, 2020 - 2:00 PM

COVID-19 HR Update

Fort Smith Public Schools is closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation with coronavirus (COVID-19). The District will begin to transition to remote working for a majority of employees starting on Wednesday, March 18.  We will be under this remote work scenario from Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday, March 29. Under current direction from the Governor and Department of Education, employees will be expected to return to work at their campus or administrative work sites on March 30. 

As of Wednesday, March 18, all school-based employees who are not involved in building cleaning or student nutrition may go home to develop their plan to work from home. After employees are no longer in school buildings, we will begin a districtwide deep cleaning process that will take multiple days. The District has authorized for employees to be paid during this period by completing their work remotely or on-site.

We appreciate your continued patience and flexibility. There are no perfect solutions, and the situation remains fluid. We are making every attempt to meet the needs of our students and employees. We are working to prepare for sustained remote learning and off-site work if the current COVID-19 school closure is extended beyond March 30.

We will continue to add to the below FAQ as there are questions. Please send questions to communication@fortsmithschools.org.

What days will cleaning be done? Can I be in the school building?

Staff, unless they are serving meals at designated sites, are not to be in school buildings during the cleaning period: Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 20.

How do I develop my work from home plan?

Employees who are at home on an existing contract day are considered to be working remotely. These remote employees will be contacted to work from home or could be requested to return to their work site at any time. Staff members are expected to begin the development of remote work plans with their supervisors on Wednesday. Your supervisor will contact you to finalize arrangements. 

Is there a form available for developing a Remote Work Plan? 

We are developing a form that we will provide.

Can I take leave or a sick day on a remote work day?

If employees are unavailable or unable to work from home, they may still choose to take sick leave, comp time, or other forms of leave through March 30. Like any normal workday, employees will need these absences approved by their supervisors.

Who are the Facilities/Custodial staff who will take part in the deep cleaning process? Who are the Nutrition Staff who need to work at student meal sites?

Facilities/Custodial or Nutrition Staff need to contact their supervisor for clarification if they are not sure.

March 16, 2020 - 1:30 PM

Updated: Frequently Asked Questions Related to COVID-19 Response

Fort Smith Public Schools is continuing to work with our families to respond to the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds. We have updated our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document for you to access more information. You can view this document directly at: http://bit.ly/2Qi4jrE

March 16, 2020 - 12:45 PM

On March 16, 2020, at 11:12 AM, the Arkansas Activities Association "published on Twitter" that it is implementing a “Dead Period” for schools. The statement reads: 

Due to growing concerns over COVID-19, and after the announcement from the Governor and the Arkansas Department of Education, the AAA will implement a dead period for all member schools starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020. During this time, coaches (licensed teacher coaches and registered volunteers) shall be prohibited from engaging in any type of activity involving student-athletes whether it be practice, training, weight lifting, tryouts, competition, or travel. Further, school athletic facilities will be closed during this period. On Monday, March 30, the AAA will reassess the COVID-19 situation and announce further plans. 

dead period  

March 16, 2020 - 12:30 PM

FSPS nurses available by phone or email to support students

To support students during this closure, FSPS nurses will be available by phone or email.

View contact information for FSPS nurses here. 

March 16, 2020 - 12:05 PM

Breakfast and Lunch for Tuesday, March 17 through Thursday, March 19

Grab-and-Go Breakfast and Lunch will be served at the following sites on Tuesday, March 17 through Thursday, March 19. Breakfast will be served from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM and lunch will be served from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Child Nutrition Staff will serve these meals at stations near the building entrance. Meals are free and available to all children ages 1-18. Children must be present to receive a meal. Children may go to any of the locations to receive a meal. Parents can purchase meals for $2.50 for breakfast and $4.00 for lunch.

  • Meals Available March 17-March 19
  • March 20 is a Professional Development Day (Student Holiday)
  • Closed during Spring Break

Breakfast and Lunch Sites

  • Ballman Elementary, 2601 South Q Street
  • Barling Elementary, 1400 D Street in Barling
  • Beard Elementary, 1600 Cavanaugh Road
  • Carnall Elementary, 2524 South Tulsa Street
  • Fairview Elementary, 2400 South Dallas Street
  • Howard Elementary, 1301 North 8th Street
  • Morrison Elementary, 3415 Newlon Road
  • Pike Elementary, 4111 Park Avenue
  • Spradling Elementary, 4949 Spradling Avenue
  • Sunnymede Elementary, 4201 North O Street
  • Tilles Elementary, 815 North 16th Street

March 15, 2020 - 6:30 PM

School Nurses will be present at the following schools tomorrow, March 16 for parents who wish to pick up medications for their children. Because conditions are rapidly changing and we cannot predict how long we will be out of school, parents may want to consider picking up all medication for their children. 

Nurse Schedule for Monday, March 16

All stationary nurses will be at their assigned schools all day. Those schools are Ballman, Barling, Cook, Euper Lane, Sutton, Chaffin, Darby, Kimmons, Ramsey, Northside and Southside.

Itinerant Nurses: 

  • Kelsey Ellis will be at Carnall in the morning and Orr in the afternoon
  • Ashley Stepp will be at Spradling in the morning and Pike in the afternoon
  • Pam McAdoo Tatum will be at Howard in the morning and Woods in the afternoon
  • Carla Baxter will be at Morrision in the morning and Tilles in the afternoon
  • Karen Gardner will be at Sunnymede in the morning and Trusty in the afternoon 
  • Jo Cross will be at Bonneville in the morning and Fairview in the afternoon
  • Terri Johnson will be at Beard from 8:30 - 11:30 AM and Cavanaugh 12:00 - 3:30 PM

March 15, 2020 - 6:00 PM

Breakfast and Lunch for Monday, March 16

Grab-and-Go Breakfast and Lunch will be served at the following sites on Monday, March 16. Breakfast will be served from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM and lunch will be served from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Child Nutrition Staff will serve these meals at stations near the building entrance. Meals are free and available to all children ages 1-18. Children must be present to receive a meal. Children may go to any of the locations to receive a meal. Parents can purchase meals for $2.50 for breakfast and $4.00 for lunch. 

Breakfast and Lunch Sites

  • Ballman Elementary, 2601 South Q Street
  • Barling Elementary, 1400 D Street in Barling
  • Beard Elementary, 1600 Cavanaugh Road
  • Carnall Elementary, 2524 South Tulsa Street
  • Fairview Elementary, 2400 South Dallas Street
  • Howard Elementary, 1301 North 8th Street
  • Morrison Elementary, 3415 Newlon Road
  • Pike Elementary, 4111 Park Avenue
  • Spradling Elementary, 4949 Spradling Avenue
  • Sunnymede Elementary, 4201 North O Street
  • Tilles Elementary, 815 North 16th Street

March 15, 2020 - 4:40 PM

Regarding breakfast and lunch: the situation remains fluid and we are actively planning the schedule. We will keep you informed of the sites, times and any other information as it relates to breakfast and lunch. Thank you for your patience!

March 15, 2020 - 2:25 PM

Notice: Fort Smith Public Schools will be closed Monday, March 16 through Spring Break. Students will begin AMI tomorrow, Monday March 16. More information will be provided about breakfast/lunch sites. 

March 15, 2020 - 1:00 PM

Frequently Asked Questions Related to COVID-19 Response

Fort Smith Public Schools is continuing to work with our families to respond to the COVID-19 situation as it unfolds. We have created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document you can access for more information. You can view this document directly at: http://bit.ly/2Qi4jrE

March 15, 2020 - 10:20 AM

FSPS Athletics and Activities has shared this guidance on practices, after-school activities, and competitions. Please remember that as a district, we have been instructed to follow the guidance of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). We are following their instructions as we receive them. All decisions about closing schools are made by the ADH and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Read the letter here.

March 14, 2020 - 6:10 PM
 
FSPS Breakfast and Lunch Sites Named Should District be Directed to Clos

Should Fort Smith Public Schools be directed by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to close in response to COVID-19, the following breakfast and lunch sites would be used. These sites listed are the same summer meals sites used by the school district. At these sites, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch would be made available to all children ages 1-18. Again, these are the sites that would be used should Fort Smith Public Schools be directed to close by the ADH and DESE. At this time, there are no plans to close Fort Smith Public Schools.

Breakast and Lunch Sites:

Ballman Elementary School
Barling Elementary School
Beard Elementary School
Carnall Elementary School
Fairview Elementary School
Howard Elementary School
Morrison Elementary School
Pike Elementary School
Spradling Elementary School 
Sunnymede Elementary School
Tilles Elementary School
 
March 13, 2020 - 1:20 PM
 
Important Information About Field Trips and After-School Activities
 
All field trips and after-school and weekend activities scheduled through March 30 have been cancelled. This includes community activities scheduled at district schools. FSPS will continue to reassess decisions as circumstances evolve.
 
Alternative Method of Instruction (AMI) Packets Go Home with Students Today
 
Some parts of our AMI plans rely on getting materials out to students in advance. Because this situation is fluid, we want the information to be in place if and when the decision to close school is made. Elementary school students will receive their AMI packets today. There are, however, no plans to close schools at this time. You may also access FSPS AMI materials at this link on the FSPS website.
 
All decisions about closing schools are made by the ADH and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). 

March 13, 2020 - 12:00 PM

We are grateful for the information that you share with us. We must depend on you to make decisions about what is best for your children. Today, we have had several questions about exposure to COVID-19, and we want to remind you of three important points in our response.

  1. As a district, we have been instructed to follow the guidance of the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). We are following their instructions as we receive them. Often, there are details of each case that prevent the ADH and FSPS from making immediate decisions. All decisions about closing schools are made by the ADH and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
  2. Students who are absent because of illness or other concerns related to COVID-19 exposure will be allowed to make up any and all work missed while absent. To reduce the burden on our health care providers as they prepare to serve a higher number of patients, the requirement to secure written documentation from a health care provider in order to excuse an absence is suspended for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. A parent note will meet the requirement. Due to the concerns surrounding COVID-19, FSPS will suspend perfect attendance rules for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. As a result, 2019-2020 perfect attendance recognition will be based on attendance from August 15, 2019 – March 13, 2020. Please note that the compulsory attendance law still applies.
  3. Because of the high volume of calls, we may not be able to return each message that we receive. But, we are documenting them and reviewing each. This will help us better identify and prioritize areas of concern.

Student and staff safety continues to be a primary goal in our district. We will share information with you as soon as possible as we continue to monitor efforts within our state to contain the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for your concern and your support for the weeks ahead.

March 13, 2020 - 8:45 AM

On March 12, 2020 at 9:40 PM, the Arkansas Activities Association published on Twitter that it is suspending all Spring sports and activities. The statement reads: 

Due to growing concerns over COVID-19 virus, the AAA will suspend all spring interscholastic competition starting Sunday, March 15, 2020 until Monday, March 30 2020. On Monday, March 30th the AAA will reassess the COVID-19 situation, and announce further plans.

Fort Smith Public Schools is seeking clarification for how the suspension will impact FSPS sports and activities directly. As we seek clarification, we ask for your patience and understanding as circumstances are rapidly changing due to the ongoing concerns of COVID-19.

AAA CoVid-19 info

 
March 12, 2020 - 4:30 PM
 
Notice: There are no plans to close Fort Smith Public Schools at this time.
 
March 12, 2020 - 3:15 PM
 
Parent Letter Regarding COVID-19
 
Please read this update, "Parent Letter Regarding COVID-19" for resources you can use to stay informed and guide your children through this new challenge.
 
March 12, 2020: 1:00 PM
 
Safety Guides District's COVID-19 Response
 
Please read this update, "Safety Guides District's COVID-19 Response," about our district's response to COVID-19. 

March 12, 2020 - 11:00 AM

On Wednesday, March 11, The Arkansas Department of Education released its Commissioner's Memo LS-20-089 detailing important information from Governor Hutchinson and guidance for schools regarding COVID-19. 

ADE Commissioner's Memo

Governor Hutchinson held a press conference this morning and released a proclamation that details action to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The proclamation can be accessed here.  Because Arkansas has been planning a COVID-19 response for months, the state is well-positioned to begin containment efforts. The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) will continue to act as the lead agency to work in concert with other state agencies to respond to the COVID-19 virus. 

School and school activities will continue at this time, and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Health, shall provide guidance to local school districts and institutions of higher education to address concerns related to the virus and take all actions necessary to ensure the continuation of education. The Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Secretary of Education, shall have sole authority to close public school campuses throughout the state for reasons related to COVID-19. The situation will be monitored closely. 

Planning

Should extended closures become necessary, the ADE understands the importance of coordination in planning and responding to needs and will provide as much guidance as possible in how closures should be conducted, including the handling of student and staff absences. The ADE is working with federal agencies and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to identify issues that will need to be addressed if school closures become necessary, such as possible modifications to state testing windows and continuation of meals for students in need.

It is also important to note that The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has extended all approved 2019-2020 Alternate Methods of Instruction (AMI) applications for up to ten days.

Travel

State employees have been directed to clear their professional out-of-state travel plans with their Department’s Secretary. All citizens are asked, however, to review and rethink travel plans to consider whether plans will put themselves or others at higher risk of transmission. School districts should evaluate school-sponsored travel plans and ask school-district employees to consider risks associated with their personal travel plans, including spring break. 

New Resource for Arkansas

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is pleased to announce that UAMS HealthNow, its 24-hour digital connection to healthcare professionals, will soon offer free screenings for all Arkansans who have questions about whether they may have the COVID-19 virus. UAMS HealthNow site will have a screening tool with a series of questions about their symptoms, age, overall health, travel and other potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus and guide them regarding next steps, if any. This may include a video session with a UAMS HealthNow provider, advice to contact their local physician for further evaluation and possible testing for the virus.

People who have symptoms and who have been exposed to COVID-19 are urged not to visit a physician office, urgent care clinic, emergency room or hospital without first talking to the facility and getting instructions on how to prevent spreading the virus to healthcare providers and other patients.

This service will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to patients of all ages across the state of Arkansas and can be accessed from a smart phone, tablet, laptop, or computer.  https://uamshealth.com/healthnow/
 

March 11, 2020 

Guidance about Students and Staff Who Have Traveled or Possibly Been Exposed to COVID-19 from the Arkansas Department of Health
 
At present ADH are monitoring travelers who have returned within the last 14 days from countries with sustained community transmission. At present these are the affected countries: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan. As the epidemic spreads, we will likely also monitor travelers from other affected countries. Travelers from affected countries are advised to stay at home and monitor for symptoms until 14 days have passed from their departure from that country, while limiting interaction with others. Once 14 days have passed without any symptoms of illness, CDC recommends these travelers be allowed to return to school and public activities.

  • It is recommended that schools communicate with parents to let them know that the district is aware of the risk of COVID-19 internationally, the district is working with ADH to identify students and staff who may have traveled from the affected countries, and district staff will collaborate with ADH if any such students or staff are identified.
  • Districts are requested to identify any student or staff who may have departed China (or, in the future, any other affected country) within the last 14 days. This information is permitted to be shared with ADH under the public emergency rule. The following information can be printed and given by clicking here.
  • Schools should inform their school nurse if any students or staff have traveled to these countries so that the nurse can advise regarding home self-quarantine and assist with self-monitoring.
  • Please report this information to ADH at 501-537-8969.
  • If a student is identified as having traveled from China (or other affected country) in the last 14 days and has symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), they should immediately be placed in a single room and have a mask placed on them. Others in the room should wear a mask. If physical contact is required, then gown, gloves and mask should be worn.
  • Any suspected case (with symptoms) of COVID-19 should be reported to ADH immediately at 501-537-8969 (M-F 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM) or 1-800-554-5738 (after hours and weekends).

March 4, 2020

Dear Parents and Community,

Fort Smith Public Schools is carefully monitoring information about the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). Sources of guidance for our district include the Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We will follow recommendations from federal, state and local authorities to ensure that we are protecting our students and staff.

Because we know that sharing information is among the best ways to address this type of challenge, we have posted a COVID-19 Updates page on the FSPS website. It will have the most up-to-date information that we have as well as important resources like the one from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) entitled “Talking to Children About COVID-19” (Español) (Arabic) (Vietnamese).

At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas. Because preventing the spread of COVID-19 is the best approach to maintaining the health of our community, we are:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting schools routinely
  • Encouraging staff and students to wash their hands frequently with soap and water
  • Ensuring that bathrooms have adequate soap
  • Monitoring guidance provided by the DESE, ADH and the CDC

You can also help prevent the spread of viruses by following – and encouraging members of your family to follow – these important instructions:

  • Stay at home when you are sick
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing

Student wellness is a primary goal in Fort Smith Public Schools. We appreciate your assistance as we work to minimize the impact of the coronavirus and other viruses like the flu and common cold on our community. 

Sincerely, 

Doug Brubaker, Ph.D.
Superintendent