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HPS addressing COVID-19 variant

By Ken McLemore/Hope Public Schools, 01/5/22 12:35 AM


HOPE – Nothing has changed regarding the vigilance which the Hope Public Schools has urged for students, parents, faculty and staff as the district responds to the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, HPS Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Crossley said Tuesday.

Students returned to classes across the HPS after the annual Christmas break on Jan. 3.

Arkansas is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 Omicron variant numbers,” Dr. Crossley said in a letter to parents and students. “HPS is prepared with a comprehensive response to rising COVID numbers.”

Crossley said Arkansas school superintendents met virtually Tuesday with Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Johnny Key and Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero regarding guidance for schools.

We are in close communication with the Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to determine appropriate responses,” Crossley said.

The ADE continues to recommend the 3 Ws: Wash hands frequently; Watch your distance; and Wear a face mask, he said.


Our staff, principals, and central office staff have been collaborative and solutions-oriented in our efforts to keep everyone safe,” Crossley said.

He offered three suggestions to parents:

–Remind student(s) to wear face masks appropriately.

–Keep students at home if they become sick. Rapid COVID-19 tests are available at the Bobcat Clinic.

–In the event of a pivot to virtual instruction, HPS is prepared to provide continuing instruction, but parents are asked to closely monitor their student(s) school social media and school website.

The HPS Board of Education renewed the district’s policy in October requiring the use of face masks on all HPS campuses and in all district facilities.

Proper mask usage is a simple, three-step process:

–Place the mask over the nose and mouth and secure it under the chin.

–Fit the mask snugly against the sides of the face.

–Provide ample ability to breath easily.


The district has also continued its policy of limiting attendance at athletics events during the basketball season based upon state guidance. The incidence of COVID-19 resulted Tuesday in the cancellation of both boys’ and girls’ basketball games in DeQueen, according to HPS Athletics Director Phillip Turner.


The HPS has consistently encouraged adults and students to take vaccinations offered by the district, Crossley said.

Campus-based vaccination clinics for students and HPS staff have been scheduled through the remainder of the 2021-2022 academic year by the Bobcat Clinic at Hope High School.

The clinics on Jan. 12, Feb. 2 and 23, March 6, April 6 and 27, and May 18 are available for HPS students ages 5 years and older, and patients must register with the Bobcat Clinic and a completed registration packet is required prior to vaccination, according to Bobcat Clinic Director Gretchen Carlton.

A vaccination consent form must also be completed prior to vaccination, Carlton said.

Vaccination appointments may be arranged by calling 870-722-2733, option 2, during regular clinic hours.


Students who have been affected by COVID-19 and are required to quarantine may continue to receive meals from the HPS free of charge during the school week, HPS Child Nutrition Director Deanna Gilbert said.

Gilbert said parents should call 501-229-3781 to arrange for meals with Aramark Food Services Director Sandra Calhoun.

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s teacher, principal, or the central office staff,” Crossley said. “Together let’s stay safe during this new semester.”