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NHS prom cancelled, graduation delayed

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SOCIAL DISTANCING. Members of the Nashville School Board practice social distancing during a special meeting Monday night. Board members sat at separate tables with at least six feet between them. Only 10 people attended, including school officials, board members and two reporters from local media. The board heard a COVID-19 update from Superintendent Doug Graham, who announced that prom has been cancelled and graduation has been postponed. Arkansas schools will continue to use AMI instruction for the remainder of the academic year.

By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s announcement Monday that Arkansas schools will remained closed for on-campus instruction the remainder of the academic year means two additional changes in the Nashville School District along with AMI instruction.

“Prom is officially cancelled,” Superintendent Doug Graham told the school board Monday night. “The governor announced that we won’t be back the rest of the year. The only alternative would be to go over into July and have something then. The majority of schools are canceling prom,” including Nashville.

High school graduation will be postponed from the original date of May 17, Graham said. The event will be rescheduled when the coronavirus pandemic abates and social distancing guidelines are eased by the state and federal governments.

“I want to do everything we can to have graduation, even if it’s in June or July, if we’re opened up for large gatherings. We’ll keep all the options open. These seniors have looked forward to this. Their families have looked forward to it,” Graham said.

“These kids are losing out on a lot of spring activities. They’re missing prom,” spring sports, band concerts and a host of other events, according to Graham.

“We can’t fix a lot of the other things, but we can have graduation,” he said. “I want those seniors to be able to get together one last time and sit together one last time.”

Seniors who were in good standing at the end of the third nine weeks have completed their high school careers, according to the Arkansas Department of Education, with the exception of those who are enrolled in concurrent classes for college credit. Those seniors will continue to work on the concurrent classes.

For the rest of the students in Nashville and statewide, “AMI [Alternate Method of Instruction] will continue through the end of the year,” Graham said.

Administrators are meeting with their teachers through Zoom on a regular basis. “We’ll offer a quality AMI program” through the 

remainder of the academic year, Graham said.

The district has checked out Chromebooks to students who need them.

The parking lots on all four campuses are open for students to use wi-fi with their own devices or the district’s Chromebooks, according to Graham. “We’re trying to lessen the load for students and parents.”

Nashville students and teachers are in the third week of AMI. Some teachers are preparing packets of work for students and parents to pick up each Tuesday. Other teachers are sending work to their students online.

“I’m more pleased with week two of AMI than I was with week one,” Graham said. “It’s worked out for the best.”