The 2020 school year is off to a start like no other. Whether your child is beginning the semester in a classroom or connected through virtual learning, a lot has changed since March 2020. Everyone has a lot of questions. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and information and advice changes often. We are learning more about COVID- 19 each day. The more we know, the more we can take steps to keep us healthy.

For families whose children will be in schools, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) has established a Ready for School Resource Call Center. The purpose of the call center is to provide Arkansans with information and resources regarding the re-opening of schools.

The helpline is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bilingual support is available. The helpline is made possible through a partnership between the Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Bilingual Resource Network, Arkansas Children's, Republic of the Marshall Islands Consulate, and UAMS. The Ready for School Resource Help Line: 1-833-353-6050.

Families whose children are learning at home or in virtual environments like pods can also benefit from this information. Parents can put this guidance to use in their own homes and for times when they need to leave the house for errands.

Every Morning 

There are many things that schools, educators, children and families can do to help keep COVID-19 from spreading.

Two important steps to take every day that make up a health check:

  1. A symptom check
  2. A fever check. A fever is a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or higher

These checks are important for children in all learning environments. Talk to your child/student before leaving home about symptoms like cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, or sore throat. Review symptoms with children to make sure they notice when they feel sick. Talk with them about how to let a grown up know when they feel sick or like they have a fever. Not all people with COVID-19 will have symptoms or a fever. Not all people who have symptoms or a fever have COVID-19.

Stay-at-home when you are sick. It is important that anyone who feel sick or has a fever stays home.

Here are 5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for the New School Day

  1. Pack an extra mask for wearing on the bus and at school.
  2. Supply hand sanitizer and encourage your child to clean their hands often.
  3. Provide a water bottle filled at home and labeled with your child’s name.
  4. Purchase and label a pen pouch with your child’s school supplies that won't be shared with others.
  5. Send a labeled lunchbox with food packed and labeled. For smaller children, include easy to open foods so a teacher won't have to touch every student's food for assistance.

In addition to preparing for the new school day, here is some more helpful information to share with your child from the Ready to Learn Playbook, developed in partnership by Arkansas Children’s, the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Department of Health and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.