The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Arkansas increased Monday evening to 927, up from 875 Monday afternoon when Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced schools would remain closed for on-site instruction the remainder of the year.

“The remainder of this school year is going to be closed,” Hutchinson said. “We’re not going to allow in-school instruction but we’ll continue with the alternative methods of instruction through the remainder of this school year.”

Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key said the state has the capacity to extend existing AMI plans through May 1, giving school districts time to develop their alternative plans for the remainder of the year.

“Most districts have indicated that they have the capacity to continue AMI delivery through the end of the school year,” Key said. “For districts that need additional support in developing quality AMI plans, the division will work with the education service cooperatives to assist these districts with their AMI plans.”

He said districts are expected to provide clear guidance for educators and urged them to be flexible. “Understand that the additional stresses for families created by this current health emergency will impact our students,” he said. “This is a time for more emphasis on support and learning and less emphasis on compliance.”

School districts may continue child nutrition services through meal delivery or meals-to-go options as long as they can follow the health department and CDC guidelines for hand-washing, cleaning, social distancing and minimizing the number of people congregating, Key said.

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