Dr. Long addresses possibilities of school closure


Brooke Chapman, Adviser

In recent weeks several of the schools in our area have transitioned to online learning until after Thanksgiving break due to rising numbers of positive cases and quarantines on their campuses. Norfork, Cotter and Flippin are just a few schools in the state who have had to modify their instruction plans based on recent COVID outbreaks. In an effort to address the state of MHPS, Dr. Long released the following statement on Wednesday, November 11th:
Mountain Home Community,
As other schools in our area have been required to make instructional modifications due to COVID-19, I wanted to address the status of Mountain Home Public Schools. I met virtually with representatives from the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Education yesterday and reported our current number of positive cases and close contacts. At this time, we have been advised that we should continue to remain open for instruction on campus. The representatives noted that the rates within our school district are actually better than the rates within the community, which means that our students are safer in school than they are in the community currently.
Yesterday afternoon Secretary of Education Johnny Key said during the governor’s weekly press conference that there are rumors about the state closing schools between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but those rumors are unfounded and there is no plan for such a mandate.
I am well aware that we would not be in the position to keep our schools open if it was not for the hard work and dedication of our teachers. Our teachers are working miracles as they keep students socially distanced while providing them with high-quality educational opportunities both in person and online. Our educators are heroes in this battle, and I encourage you to thank a teacher today for his/her dedication.
Please know that we are committed to transparency with our employees, our families and the community-at-large. If the need arises for us to pivot to virtual instruction in some or all of our buildings, you will not need to rely on rumors that circulate, because we will let you know our plans as soon as we know them.
In closing, I want to echo the BRMC CEO Ron Peterson’s sentiments from a radio interview this morning. Our area did not peak in COVID-19 cases back in July when the national peak occurred. We’re experiencing a high rate of positive cases now, and we need to take that very seriously. Please continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash your hands.
Thank you,
Dr. Jake Long