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Arkansas releases resources for going back to school during COVID-19 crisis

Ready for Learning will give parents and teachers more answers on how to safely send kids back to the classrooms during the coronavirus pandemic.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — On Thursday, Governor Hutchinson along with the Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Department of Education presented the Arkansas Ready for Learning Guide.

It includes information to help parents and schools understand what going back to school safely on August 24th looks like.

The Healthy School Guide is the most basic tool for parents and teachers to prepare to go back to class. It includes things like how to prevent the spread of the virus to what a student's daily routine should look like. 

There are also designated phone numbers to call for more information about COVID-19 and heading back to class. 

There's the Ready for School Resource Helpline to answer any questions or concerns a parent may have. The number is 1-833-353-6050.

There's also the ADH/ADE hotline number. It's for school districts who have questions about possible COVID-19 outbreaks and proper protocols. That number is 1-833-504-0155.

"Every question that we get is logged. Every answer is recorded and then made available for the person who called in," said Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, ADE's deputy commissioner.

Dr. Pfeffer also said the questions and information recorded from those calls will help the state how to better help Arkansans with regards to COVID-19 and school.

RELATED: Coronavirus updates: 652 new cases in Arkansas, 9 more deaths

Ready for Learning also includes how schools should react if a student or staff gets the coronavirus. 

In the Response Levels for On-Site Learning document, it states, "Schools should be prepared for COVID-19 outbreaks in their local communities and for individual exposure events to occur in their facilities." 

The ADH will help the school determine if a limited, moderate, or critical response level is necessary and the next steps to take, which could be modifying schedules, postponing events, and/or temporary closure of schools. 

RELATED: Over 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 during two weeks in July, study says

"These documents are not meant to guide whether schools re-open or not. Those are decisions Gov. Hutchinson, Secretary Key, and Secretary Romero will make," said Cam Patterson, Chancellor of UAMS.

From now until September 1, Arkansas schools will finalize their on-site and virtual learning, prepare the assessments that will show where kids are lacking in their education from last year, and train faculty.