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COVID-19 Information & Resources


Updated May 21, 2020


"Keep your face towards the sunshine


 and shadows will fall behind you." 


                                                               -Walt Whitman

Messages About the Use of Face Shields

Updated June 11, 2020

To LEA Supervisors and Early Childhood Coordinators:


I wanted to share with you all that it has been approved by the Arkansas Department of Health to allow face shields in lieu of face masks for the length of time to perform the evaluation when the lips/mouth need to be viewed.  Also, plexiglass would be adequate (if plexiglass is used a face shield would not be necessary, just make sure it is not a tiny plexiglass shield that saliva would spray around).  The only other thing I’d say is to just keep the face covering off for the minimum amount of time needed to perform the evaluation and/or get the information you need.


Matt Sewell

Director of Special Education

From Joel Tumlison, Monday, June 8, 2020


I am hesitant to ok face shields for students generally.  Here is why:


-Face shields are not as good as masks at blocking what is coming out of my mouth (this is my judgement and that of others, not like there is a lot of specific studies on this).  I agree that they are better than nothing.  

-Thus, they should be used in lieu of face coverings only the length of time necessary. But not as a general substitute.

-Regarding teachers using them to teach phonics, where seeing the mouth/lips is crucial: yes, I think it would be fine to substitute the face shield for the mask/covering for that period of time needed to teach phonics or whatever was needed to see the lips.  But not just generally in the class room.

-Also, I am thinking that most children learning phonics will be under the age where masks are required. So, I would say in those situation where a student wearing a mask needed to have their lips seen, just have them take the mask off temporarily, then put it back on when they are done speaking.  We are now about limiting exposure, not eliminating it.


Joel Tumlison, MD, Medical Director for Child and Adolescent Health 

Outbreak Response, Arkansas Department of Health


Face Mask Resources for Children

Posted June 10, 2020

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities and Children’s Specialized Hospital have developed a series of resources to help children understand and feel comfortable wearing face masks.  The series includes:

A Parent’s Guide: Helping Your Child Wear a Face Mask - (English) (Spanish)

Help Your Child Feel Good about Using and Seeing Others Wearing Face Masks - (English) (Spanish)

I Can Stay Healthy by Wearing a Face Mask - (English) (Spanish)

Also, the Virginia Department of Education’s state-wide Training and Technical Assistance Centers (TTACs) and Autism Center made this video to help students learn to wear a mask for return to school.  It is video modeling that is non-verbal with some talking/messaging at the end.

Important Notices from ABESPA (April 30, 2020)

Posted June 3, 2020 (Also posted on News&Announcements page)

Guidelines for Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology Routine Care Reopening | READ MORE


Are you completing the Clinical Fellowship or a recent graduate?  READ THIS for important licensure information.


FYI, the public comment period for ABESPA Proposed Rules was closed as of May 14.  By law, the Board can not accept any more public comments.

Requests for licensure verification must be made in writing.  Either submit (mail, email or fax) the appropriate state form or include complete licensee and remittance information.

Updated Renewal Letter added to the site | READ NOW

RENEWAL AND CPE DEADLINE extended to September 30, 2020 due to COVID-19.

RENEWAL AND CPE DEADLINE still available June 30, 2020 as an option if required by your employment.

If you have questions regarding teletherapy, please refer to ABESPA Rules.  Please know that ABESPA has no authority over billing issues, which are strictly between Provider and Payer.

Direct supervision of SLPAs may be accomplished via telepractice in accordance with ABESPA Rules

Designated Arkansas Hotlines

Updated May 21, 2020

In an effort to effectively field concerns related to school closures and school/student-related concerns of potential positive COVID-19 cases, the Arkansas Department of Health has designated a hotline for school personnel to utilize to report concerns. Additionally, Arkansas Children’s Hospital has designated a hotline number to field concerns related specifically to the known presumptive positive case at ACH mentioned in the March 12 press conference. For all other concerns, individuals should use the MAIN COVID-19 Hotline number. These pertinent numbers are listed below:


School Personnel Designated COVID-19 Hotline: 1-833-504-0155

Arkansas Children’s Hospital Hotline: 1-800-743-3616

MAIN COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-803-7847


Questions? Districts can email education questions to

UPDATE!  (May 20, 2020)

In partnership with the Teacher Leader Advisory Group, the Division of Elementary & Secondary Education is providing a Covid-19 Teacher Support Hotline.  Members of the Teacher Leader Advisory Group who will be facilitating this hotline want to hear questions and concerns from teachers.  For more information please visit our DESE website and click on the Teacher Tab to navigate to the Covid-19 Teacher Support Hotline Button.

COVID-19 Teacher Support Hotline:  1-833-353-6050

DHS Guidance for School-based Therapy Delivered via Telehealth

Updated May 21, 2020

From Jerri Clark, Director, School Health Services, Arkansas Department of Education, 501-683-360,


Here is the most up-to-date information we have regarding the delivery of OT, PT, and Speech services via tele-health platform.  Please share this message with school personnel who may be in need of this information.  Please let me know if you have questions.

DMS-DDS Therapy Telehealth Memorandum to Medicaid Providers (3-23-20) - Use of Telemedicine to Provide Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Clarifying Points for DMS-DDS... Memo (above)


DMS-09 (HIPAA Guidance) (3-23-20) - Guidance on HIPAA during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

Zoom-HIPAA Compliance Guide (July 2017)

Zoom-FERPA Compliance Guide (February 2018)


DMS-04a Memorandum (3-30-20) - Use of Telemedicine to Provide Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy by licensed Assistants during COVID-19 Outbreak

DMS is adding an addendum to the guidance issued on March 20th in (DMS-04) which suspended the prohibition on use of telemedicine technology for limited occupational, physical or speech therapy services provided to established patients during the COVID-19 outbreak and the declaration of public health emergency. This addendum expands allowable telemedicine services to include services provided by licensed occupational, physical, or speech therapy assistants.  (Original DMS-04 Memo contains the same information as the DMS-DDS Therapy Telehealth memo (3-23-20) above with Billing Instructions added.)

Clarifying Points 2 for DMS-04a Memo (3-31-20)

DMS School Health Services Additional Guidance (3-31-20)


Amended on April 24, 2020 

DHS policy updates due to the COVID19 outbreak reflect extension until the end of the declared public emergency.  Go to the DESE Covid site, scroll to the bottom to the School Health Services COVID-19 School Closure Guidance document, which contains links to both amended memos for Therapists and Assistants.

ASHA Resources for COVID-19 and Telepractice

Updated May 6, 2020

Check the ASHA website for the latest updates and resources on COVID-19, including telepractice.  Please contact the Action Center (800-498-2071 or with any questions.



ASHA Schools Virtual Town Hall

Topic Focus:  Service Delivery During COVID-19 for Audiologists and SLPs Serving Students


The COVID-19: ASHA Schools Virtual Town Hall focused on service delivery considerations for educational audiologists and school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who serve preschool through 12th grade students. The panel of experts, including our own Donna Fisher-Smiley, responded to questions from participants about the impact of COVID-19 on their professional lives.

Recording of ASHA Schools Virtual Town Hall (April 13, 2020)

UPDATE!  Recent Articles: 

Partner with ASHA in Virtual Advocacy for COVID-19 Legislation, ASHA Leader Live, April 27, 2020

School-Affiliated Clinicians’ Responses to COVID-19, Plus Resources, ASHA Leader Live, April 24, 2020

School Services, Interrupted:  What Parents of Students Receiving Speech and Language Treatment in Schools Should Know During COVID-19 Closures, ASHA News, April 9, 2020

Early Intervention and COVID-19:  Advice for Parents of Children Ages 0–3 Whose Services Are Interrupted, ASHA News, April 7, 2020

Why Involve Siblings in Speech-Language Intervention, ASHA Leader Live, January 8, 2020

Using Telepractice to Provide Early Intervention Services to Families, ASHA Leader Live, March 16, 2020

5 Steps to Get Started in Telepractice, ASHA Leader Live, March 18, 2020

10 Strategies To Train Parents and Improve Carryover for Students Using AAC, ASHA Leader Live, March 23, 2020

ASHA Revisits Guidance on Medicare Telepractice, ASHA Leader Live, March 24, 2020

ASHA Voices:  How COVID-19 Is Changing Our Work Lives, ASHA Leader Live, March 26, 2020

10 Ways Children with Language Disorders Can Maintain Both Physical Distance and Social Connections, ASHA Leader Live, March 27, 2020

UHC, Cigna, Tricare Health Plans Expand Telepractice Coverage, ASHA Leader Live, March 28, 2020

COVID-19:  Ethical Considerations for Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists, ASHA Leader Live, March 30, 2020

COVID-19 and Audiology - Closed Practices, Empty Campuses, and Halted Research, ASHA Leader Live, March 31, 2020

Not Just Dots on a Map:  SLPs Speak Their Truth from the COVID-19 Battlefront, ASHA Leader Live, April 1, 2020

Coping with a Loss of Income during COVID-19... or Anytime, ASHA Leader Live, April 2, 2020

Home Practice Guidance for Parents during COVID-19, ASHA Leader Live, April 8, 2020

Your New Leader Live Website

COVID-19 Guidance for Special Education Services in Arkansas

Updated April 30, 2020

Please review and share the following information from ADE/DESE.

ADE/DESE COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Guidance for Special Education Services in Arkansas

Alternative Methods of Instruction Guidance Document

COVID-19 Outage FAQs

To view Governor Hutchinson’s press conference, go to To learn more about Arkansas’ efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, visit

UPDATES to COVID-19 Guidance (4-9-20)

See Commissioner's Memo LS-20-089 for information regarding continuation of AMI (grading, time on task), federal funds and waivers, stabilization funds (CARES Act), employee work, executive order/suspended provisions, school-level plans, statewide information reporting cycles 7,8, & 9, background checks/fingerprinting, employee hiring, licensure exceptions, end-of-year employee evaluations, child nutrition/meal delivery, career & technical education, Perkins V, ACT, and advanced placement.

UPDATES to COVID-19 Guidance (4-14-20)

See Commissioner's Memo LS-20-101:  "The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is releasing, The Arkansas Instructional Guidance for Extended Year AMI to support schools during this time of extended closure for onsite instruction due to public health concerns. The guidance was developed by DESE staff, with feedback from school superintendents, teachers, parents, and after review of other states' guidance around instructional considerations for continued Alternative Methods of Instruction."

UPDATES to COVID-19 Guidance (4-20-20)

See Commissioner's Memo LS-20-089 for information regarding waiver of provisions, graduation guidance, and plans for restart and recovery.

UPDATES to COVID-19 GUIDANCE (4-27-2020)


On April 25, Governor Hutchinson and Secretary Key announced requirements for districts to follow in planning for high school graduation ceremonies.  Traditional high school graduation ceremonies are restricted until July 1 at the earliest.  DESE will consult with ADH to review data and re-evaluate the situation as we approach July 1 and continue to make decisions based on current public health data. 

See Commissioner's Memo LS-20-089 for further information.

UPDATES to COVID-19 GUIDANCE (4-29-2020)

See Commissioner's Memo LS-20-089 for information regarding attendance, summer school, CARES funding and Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds, students with disabilities, school-based mental health, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) hotline.

How Leadership Principles Can Relieve Trauma

Posted April 30, 2020

"One of the key assertions of trauma-informed education is that a stressed brain can't learn. This claim is backed by compelling brain research, which tells us what happens to our cognitive functioning when we sense danger."  [ASCD Express, Trauma-Informed Teaching and Leading in Action, April 9, 2020, Volume 15, Issue 15]

Read article

Facing Coronavirus While Deaf and Blind: 'Everything Relies on Touch'

Posted April 29, 2020

"Imagine facing COVID-19 and the age of social distancing unable to clearly see or hear.  For tens of thousands of deaf-blind Americans, who have severe hearing and sight impairment, the scope of the outbreak and its new normal have posed unique challenges to daily life.  'Our way of communicating and our culture, everything relies on touch,' said Ashley Benton, deaf-blind services coordinator for the state of North Carolina. 'Now we're not allowed to touch, and we have to practice social distancing.'" 

[ABC News, April 23, 2020] 


Read the article or watch the video.

esOPTS COVID-19 Resources

Posted April 23, 2020

Easter Seals Outreach Program and Technology Services (esOPTS) is providing a wealth of useful information and resources for assistive technology and continuing professional education.  CLICK HERE to view the home page containing state and national news and resources, then click the sidebar menu in the top left corner for lots of tips and materials for parents, teachers, and related service providers.

CEO Update on ASHA and Member Responses to COVID-19

Updated April 28, 2020

Given the rapid evolution of events in recent weeks related to the coronavirus, and the extensive disruptions associated with it worldwide, the ASHA CEO wants to share with you what ASHA is doing, and what members across our professions are saying, doing, and looking for during this pandemic.  Even as ASHA’s official member count increased to a total of 211,000 members and affiliates as of year-end 2019, we know that many of those members are on the health care front lines serving patients, carrying on to the extent possible via telepractice, furloughed, reduced to working part-time, or otherwise experiencing compromised career and work options—some of which are creating incredible hardship for audiologists, SLPs, and patients/clients/students alike.  ASHA’s pledge is to provide as much value as possible, to ease the burdens that we can, maintain operations, and to serve as a platform for community, professional information, and support among colleagues.


UPDATE (4-27-20)

Almost 34,000 ASHA members and affiliates responded to the March COVID-19 Tracker Survey.  Based on your input, here’s what we’ve done:

  • ASHA is continuing to highlight existing and develop new resources, technical assistance information, and advocacy including real-time tracking of regulatory changes to assist you during this challenging time – which are being updated on an ongoing (usually daily, sometimes hourly) basis on the Coronavirus Resources Pages on the ASHA website.

  • Subscribed all members at no cost to the ASHA Learning Pass through June 30, 2020. Login and visit the ASHA Learning Center for more information.

  • Shared results from academic programs and students from the first fielding of this survey with the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA), Council for Clinical Certification (CFCC), National Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association (NSSLHA) and the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD). The CAA and CFCC continue to diligently monitor the evolution and impact of COVID-19 to determine if additional students’ and educational programs’ needs arise. To date, telepractice and simulation standards have been modified, and the CFCC has extended accommodations through August 1, 2020 (

Please take good care and stay well,

Arlene A. Pietranton, PhD, CAE

ASHA Chief Executive Officer

ABESPA Proposed Rules Revisions

Posted April 15, 2020

The Arkansas State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (ABESPA) has provided a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and will be accepting public comment on these revisions until May 4, 2020.  There are additions regarding teleservices that may be particularly relevant during this period of social distancing.  Please take a look at the Proposed Rule Mark-up and send your comments to or mail to:  Arkansas State Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, 101 East Capitol, Suite 103, Little Rock, AR 72201.

Related Services Virtual Discussion Group: Recordings and Notes

Updated April 28, 2020

A virtual discussion group (VDG) for related services was initiated via Zoom last week by DESE/SPED and is being facilitated by Jeff Adams, Amy Goddard, and myself.  The purpose of our meetings is to support related service providers by brainstorming, sharing ideas, and troubleshooting difficulties during this time of school closure.  (It is not a forum for asking DESE regulatory or procedural questions.) 


We are meeting on Thursdays at 2:00.  Recordings and notes from these meetings will be posted here.  Please contact me if you would like to add your name to our participants list to receive a Zoom invitation.  And please share this information with your OT and PT colleagues.  sw

All Meetings - Running Record (Notes & Recordings)

Free Replays from SLP Telecon and BrIQht Ideas

Posted April 23, 2020

SLP Telecon was a 2-day LIVE event with 6 speakers from across the country.  Due to recent circumstances, SLPs may be required to provide services virtually for the first time ever!  Over these 2 days, some amazing SLPs shared their best tips and tricks for virtual service provision and information on best practice for getting started in teletherapy.

SLP Telecon and BrIQht Ideas is now offering free replays of these six sessions through May 6, 2020. Replays are available for free and attendees can earn ASHA CEUs.  Certificates of attendance are provided when the quiz is passed with 80 percent accuracy.


CLICK HERE to view any or all of the replays.

-Warp Speed Download: Essential Info to Jumpstart Your Teletherapy Practice with Amanda Blackwell, SLPD, CCC-SLP


-5 Tips for Supervising Speech Language Pathology Assistants Remotely with Amy Hill MA, CCC-


-SLP Creating and Adapting Therapy Materials for Telepractice with Bill Bolden MA, CCC-SLP


-Telepractice:  Getting Started! with Tracy Sippi MS, CCC-SLP


-Teletherapy:  Tips to Keep Young Children Engaged with Jennie Bjorem MA, CCC-SLP


-How to Know What Works:  Evidence for Telepractice and Beyond with Meredith Harold PhD, CCC-SLP

ASHA Learning Pass Offered Free of Cost During COVID-19

Updated April 21, 2020

Let's face it—daily life feels more hectic than ever, as audiologists and speech-language pathologists juggle unprecedented COVID-19-related changes and challenges, professionally and personally. While it's hard to find a spare second, tapping continuing education (CE) online is one way to pivot to new practice approaches, such as telepractice (see below), while also meeting CE requirements (as in-person conferences and professional-development events are cancelled).

To help out, ASHA has made its ASHA Learning Pass free for all members through June 30, 2020.  Existing ASHA Learning Pass subscribers have had their subscriptions extended for three additional months.  Through the Learning Pass, members can access more than 900 hours of CE content (350-plus courses) on a variety of topics.  Most importantly, members can take courses anytime, anywhere, at their own pace.

Telepractice Courses

Apps and Web-Based Materials for Telepractice (WEB17209)

Preparing to Offer Quality Services Through Telepractice:  An Introduction (WEB19970)

Using Telepractice To Address Early Intervention Needs (WEB18515)

On-site and Telepractice Service Delivery Models:  Working Together to Benefit Students and Improve Caseloads (WEB19515)

Serving Students with Autism Using Telepractice (WEB17515)

Telepractice Fundamentals (WEB19814) Live August 27, 2020, 12:00-2:00pm

Telepractice Fundamentals (WEB19914) On-demand available beginning August 29, 2020

Ethics Courses


Dysphagia Management:  Ethics and Evidence (WEB19218)

Effective Solutions to Ethical Dilemmas in AAC (WEB18219)

Ethical Issues and End-of-Life Considerations in Dementia Management (WEB16044)

Ethically and Legally Defensible Speech-Language Services in Public Schools (WEB19222)


Ethical Challenges in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (WEB19821) Live November 4, 2020

Ethical Challenges in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (WEB19921) On-demand available beginning November 6, 2020

SLP FAQs - COVID-19 Questions from SLPs & SLPAs

Updated April 14, 2020

Most of these questions (from emails received recently) have already been addressed/answered within the guidance and resources on this page, but I wanted to establish a space for any additional questions that may come up.  Keep sending them to me and I will do my best to answer or refer you to someone who can.  New information and updates to initial responses are in RED. 


FAQs from SLPs and SLPAs


One question is about sample consent forms so I have also posted some examples here that were received from around the state.  FYI:  “Consent form eStem” is designed to be sent and returned by email.


Consent form FSD

Consent form FSSD

Consent form HTC

Consent form LRSD

Consent form MHSD (Check out DocuSign)

Consent form NSD

Consent form NSCD

Consent form NYSD

Consent form OTAG

Consent form RSD

Consent form VBSD2

Consent form eStem

Consent form eStem Group

HEARSAY Special Edition, April 2020, ACH EARS Program

Posted April 3, 2020

During the current COVID-19 global health crisis, we want you to know that the EARS team is here to support you and provide as many resources specific to hearing and hearing loss as possible.  The EARS team would like to offer our assistance in aiding with this transition from learning at school to learning at home by offering helpful resources and considerations that can be shared with families of these students and with school staff during this unprecedented time.  We are all learning this new frontier of life in the presence of a pandemic.  It will come with its own unique challenges; it will be much easier if we all work together to provide excellent services to our students.  As always, and more now than ever, we’d love to hear from you and address topics you suggest. Please email your questions/suggestions to

CLICK HERE to view EARS' HEARSAY Special Edition, April 2020

Ode To Zoom - Parody Medley

Posted April 3, 2020

Here's a smile for your day!  Thanks Jeff Adams!

CLICK HERE to view "Ode To Zoom" video.

2020 ESSA Waiver from Assessment, Accountability, and Reporting (Approved March 27, 2020)

Posted Aprill 3, 2020

On March 23, 2020, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) submitted a letter to Frank Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, requesting a waiver from assessment, accountability and reporting for 2020. The waiver was approved on March 27, 2020 by Frank Brogan.  Both letters are posted on the ADE's ESSA webpage.  Learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  The waiver addresses four (4) key points:

1.  2020 State assessment

2.  2020 Accountability (ESSA School Index)

3.  2020 Reporting (School Report Card)

4.  Identification and Support of Schools in Need of Support (CSI, ATS, and TSI)

Commissioner's Memo COM-20-105 on 03-24-20 (Request)

Commissioner's Memo COM-20-112 on 04-02-20 (Approval)

Resources from SEACDC

Posted April 2, 2020

Many of the links to resources in this message have already been posted within other announcements on this page.  Some of the ASHA WIRE telepractice articles and resources and the list of HIPAA-compliant platforms were not previously posted and have been highlighted.  Also, the CASE video from March 20 is a little long but excellent and well worth the time to view.  sw

Message from SEACDC:  During this national health crisis, each state education agency is addressing the delivery of public education services and the needs of students with disabilities differently.  To assist School SLPs in understanding the approach taken by states, the State Education Agencies Communication Disabilities Council (SEACDC) has listed COVID -19 specific guidance links to many state education agencies.  Additional links to federal guidance are also provided and include:


For examples of various state approaches, SLPs may want to watch Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis: Considerations for Special Education Administrators from the Council of Administrators of Special Education (CASE). Original air date March 20, 2020.


ASHA has developed a series of resources on telepractice and COVID-19 information. Additionally, ASHA has gathered telepractice articles and resources that are now freely available on ASHAWIRE during this crisis.


School SLPs who have been directed to deliver services by the LEA with concerns about HIPAA should discuss with school administrators the guidance from March 19, 2020 by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) entitled Notification of Enforcement Discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.  This guidance states that it “will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.”  Specific examples of tools that may be used and those that should not be used were also provided.


“Under this Notice, covered health care providers may use popular applications that allow for video chats, including Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype, to provide telehealth without risk that OCR might seek to impose a penalty for noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules related to the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.  Providers are encouraged to notify patients that these third-party applications potentially introduce privacy risks, and providers should enable all available encryption and privacy modes when using such applications." 


"Under this Notice, however, Facebook Live, Twitch, TikTok, and similar video communication applications are public facing, and should not be used in the provision of telehealth by covered health care providers.”


The SEACDC does not endorse or recommend any platform, but the following list includes platforms that represent that they are HIPAA-compliant:


Microsoft Teams for Healthcare



Zoom for Healthcare

Google G Suite Hangouts Meet


Presence Learning

This information was provided by the State Education Agencies Communication Disabilities Council (SEACDC), which includes members from state education agencies who consult on behalf of students with speech-language or hearing impairments and other communication disabilities.  Visit for more information and resources.

Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism and Academics via TeleTherapy or Face-to-Face Interaction

Posted April 2, 2020


Reading with TLC is offering a reduced price on this live, recorded webinar.  See details on the Continuing Professional Development Opportunities page of this website.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Posted April 2, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.  These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

CLICK HERE to view a poster with more details.

Messages from Johnny Key, Commissioner, and Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, Deputy Commissioner

Updated April 3, 2020

CLICK HERE to view Commissioner Key's video message.

CLICK HERE to view Dr. Pfeffer's video message.

FBI Warns of Teleconferencing and Online Classroom Hijacking During COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated April 1, 2020

"As large numbers of people turn to video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms to stay connected in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, reports of VTC hijacking (also called “Zoom-bombing”) are emerging nationwide. The FBI has received multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.​"

CLICK HERE for recommended steps that users need to take in order to mitigate the risk.


These are resources ADE is sharing with Technology Administrators across the state.

School Administrator's Guide to Rolling Out Zoom

Best Practices for Securing Your Virtual Classroom

Video:  Zoom 101 - Securing Your Meetings & Virtual Classrooms

Assistive Technology Resources During COVID-19: Live Course Series

Posted April 1, 2020

The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) has reached out to its members and the broader community in an effort to provide more resources and strategies using AT during this extraordinary time. All sessions are free and all sessions will be recorded for you to access at any time. ATIA hopes that you will share these with your colleagues. 

CLICK HERE for a list of upcoming courses in the COVID-19 Live Course Series.

USDOE COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel

Posted March 31, 2020

Health officials are currently taking steps to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") into communities across the United States. offers the most up to date information about this rapidly evolving situation.  Through collaboration and coordination with State and local health departments, State and local educational agencies, other education officials, and elected officials, schools can disseminate critical information about the disease and its potential transmission to students, families, staff, and community.

DESE Provisions Temporarily Suspended for COVID-19 Rapid Response

Posted March 20, 2020

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed Executive Order 20-06. This is an amendment to his original emergency declaration regarding COVID-19. The amendment instructs state agencies to identify regulatory statutes, orders, and rules that are hindering or preventing the rapid response necessary to combat the spread of and recovery from COVID-19. These provisions will be suspended for 30 days of the date of the executive order, March 17, 2020. 


Please note this is not an exhaustive list and may be updated as needed. Any changes will be communicated via standard communication channels. Also, multiple deadlines are not set in rule or statute. State agencies are allowing for extensions and flexibility.

 DESE Suspended Provisions (DOCX)

 DESE Suspended Provisions (PDF)

 Governor's Amended Proclamation

From the Office of Civil Rights...

Updated March 31, 2020

Please note a new notification just received from Office of Civil Rights as follows:  

“Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced, effective immediately, that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will waive potential penalties for HIPAA violations against health care providers that serve patients through everyday communications technologies during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.

This exercise of discretion applies to widely available communications apps, such as FaceTime or Skype, when used in good faith for any telehealth treatment or diagnostic purpose, regardless of whether the telehealth service is directly related to COVID-19…”  

Additional guidance will be forthcoming.


Notification of Enforcement Discretion on Telehealth Remote Communications

FAQs on Telehealth Remote Communications 

Information on HIPAA and COVID-19, OCR's February 2020 Bulletin 

FERPA and COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Updated March 31, 2020

Please see the following document from USDOE Student Privacy Policy Office. 

FERPA & Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) March 2020


"The purpose of this document is to assist school officials in protecting student privacy in the context of COVID-19 as they consider the disclosure of personally identifiable information (PII) from student education records to individuals and entities who may not already have access to that information. School officials should work with their State and local public health officials to determine the information needed to address this public health concern. Understanding how, what, and when information can be shared is a critical part of preparedness."


FERPA and Virtual Learning Resources from USDOE/SPPO

Sign Up for Regular Updates on the State's Response to COVID-19

Posted March 20, 2020

Gov. Asa Hutchison, in conjunction with state health and education officials, is giving regular updates via press conferences on the response to COVID-19. You may sign up for the alerts of such occurrences and others at View the recordings of the news conference at

Telepractice: General Information from Pearson

Posted March 20, 2020

Pearson is providing general information about telepractice for service providers looking for solutions in the present circumstances re:  COVID-19.  It defines telepractice and how it works, provides general guidelines for assessment, and a 5-theme framework for implementation.  Check it out.

UAMS HealthNow for COVID-19

Posted March 11, 2020

New Resource for Arkansas:  

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is pleased to announce that UAMS HealthNow, its 24-hour digital connection to healthcare professionals, will soon offer free screenings for all Arkansans who have questions about whether they may have the COVID-19 virus.  UAMS HealthNow site will have a screening tool with a series of questions about their symptoms, age, overall health, travel and other potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus and guide them regarding next steps, if any. This may include a video session with a UAMS HealthNow provider, advice to contact their local physician for further evaluation and possible testing for the virus.
People who have symptoms and who have been exposed to COVID-19 are urged not to visit a physician office, urgent care clinic, emergency room or hospital without first talking to the facility and getting instructions on how to prevent spreading the virus to healthcare providers and other patients.
This service will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to patients of all ages across the state of Arkansas and can be accessed from a smart phone, tablet, laptop, or computer.

Alisha Lewis
Chief Communications Director 
Arkansas Department of Education
Associate Director of Communications
Division of Higher Education 
501-320-3095 Office
870-784-1762 Cell

Consideration of Procedures for IEP Students on AMI Days

Posted April 26, 2018

The initial applications for Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI) did not contain language seeking assurances that students with disabilities, as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), will continue to receive appropriate special education services when AMI is implemented.


In order to ensure that students with disabilities continue to receive appropriate services, districts should establish procedures that outline how the district will continue to provide students with individualized education programs (IEPs) access to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) when AMI is in place. These procedures are for district use and not required to be sent to the Arkansas Department of Education for approval.


The impact of AMI needs to be considered for each child based on their individual needs and how they will access the special education services and supports outlined in their IEP. IEP teams are encouraged to discuss the impact of AMI as annual review meetings occur. If special education services and supports are not provided when AMI is implemented, IEP teams must consider the impact on performance and expected progress for each child on a case-by-case basis and determine whether make-up services are necessary.  Please do not hesitate to contact the ADE Special Education unit, Yvonne Greene, Administrator for Monitoring and Program Effectiveness regarding questions pertaining to AMI days and special education at 501-682-4322. 


For related services that a child may miss during an AMI day, the team will need to review overall progress for the student and determine if the missed services need to be made up.  This again, is a case-by-case basis.

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