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 The Hamburg School District has moved all of its campuses to a remote learning configuration because of the number of COVID-related quarantined people with connections to the district.

In a news release Monday, Superintendent of Schools Tracy Streeter said that many of the issues had stemmed from outside of the school.

All classes will be conducted online, with the exception of preschool, which will be done through a take-home work packet. The remote learning arrangement will be in place through at least Nov. 13, at which time Streeter and her team will re-evaluate the situation.  

Streeter said that Friday afternoon the district had 11 confirmed positive cases, which forced 150 students and 16 adults across the district into quarantines.  

The infections were widely spread throughout the district and covered all five campuses. 

The Friday numbers followed on the heels of an announcement made on Wednesday, Nov. 4, that there were positive cases at Hamburg Middle School and at Portlalnd Elementary. 

 “Unfortunately, our communities have been hit hard this week,” Streeter said.  

Hamburg School District Point of Contact (POC) Chris Hammond, has been working to make sure all guidelines are followed and reporting is done correctly.

Streeter said he has done a great job of keeping up with the difficult task.

Streeter said the HSD will continue to follow the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Education guidelines for dealing with COVID-19.  

“If at any time we feel like we need to make a change in our approach, it will be made.  The safety of our students and staff is our first priority,” Streeter said.  

“Each day we evaluate our situation and do everything we can to provide a safe environment for everyone.”

The HSD has had a total of 32 COVID-19 cases detected since school started.

Though the numbers have been higher in the past, reports from the ADH show that during the seven-day period that ended Nov. 9, the Crossett School District had fewer than five active cases of COVID-19. 

Crossett Superintendent of Schools Gary Williams said Monday that there were three positive cases in the district at that time. 

Williams said that he was encouraged by the fact that even those considered a close contact in the classroom are making it through their 14-day quarantine without contracting the virus. 

Williams said he believed this was because students were properly social distancing and wearing masks when in close proximity to each other. He said they are continuing to practice social distancing as much as possible to cut down on the numbers that are required to quarantine should there be a positive case.

Hamburg’s schools are not alone in having to adapt to learning in time of a pandemic.

Arkansas Commissioner of Education Johnny Key said Tuesday that last week 21 schools had to make modifications to their onsite operations last week, and that in the first two days of this week another 14 schools have had to respond similarly.

Key said that schools are doing a good job of identifying students and staff members who are considered close contacts to COVID cases.

He also said that rumors around the state that all public schools would be closed between Thanksgiving and Christmas are just that, rumors.

“We do not have plans to close down public schools for those weeks after Thanksgiving,” he said.

 

-Vershal Hogan contributed to this report-

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