COVID-19 Protocols for 2021-2022 School Year

The Pulaski County Special School District is prepared to take the necessary steps to create a safe environment for students and staff in the upcoming school year. The District will follow guidelines and recommendations from the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) as well as CDC when it comes to COVID-19 concerns. On July 9, 2021, the CDC released updated guidance for K-12 schools in regards to the prevention of COVID-19. Click here to review the key takeaways from the CDC.


MASK MANDATE (APPROVED BY BOARD 8.10.21, 10.12.21, 11.9.21)

On November 9, 2021 PCSSD Board of Education held a special board meeting at the request of a petition signed by PCSSD residents. At the conclusion of the meeting, the board voted 4-3 in favor of making masks optional effective immediately.

On October 12, 2021 PCSSD Board of Education approved, by a vote of 4-2 (1 absent), the recommendation to extend the mask requirement for all students, staff and guests. After another 60 days, in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), PCSSD will review the indoor mask requirement.

On August 10, 2021 PCSSD Board of Education unanimously approved recommendation that masks will be required for all students, staff and guests. After 60 days, in consultation with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), PCSSD will review the indoor mask requirement.

On Friday, August 6, 2021 Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox issued a preliminary injunction against Act 1002 that Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed in April banning mask requirements by governmental entities. Fox ruled the law violates Arkansas’ constitution, saying it discriminates between public and private school students. He said it also infringes on the governor’s emergency powers, as well as the authority of county officials and the state Supreme Court.

Updated October 19, 2021: To manage the negative impacts of excluding students from onsite education with the risk of spreading COVID-19, the close contact definition within a K-12 setting has been modified in effort to achieve the appropriate balance.  Close contact within a K-12 school setting that will require quarantine is defined as students or staff who have been within three (3) feet for 15 cumulative minutes or longer within a 24-hour period during the infectious period of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. This recommendation does NOT apply to Pre-K students, where the physical distance is still 6-feet.

Temperature checks will take place at every school for students and staff just as they did in the 2020-2021 school year. Staff will continue to complete building entry screening to monitor COVID-19 related symptoms upon entering the building each day. Temperature checks will also be required for any visitor who wishes to enter a PCSSD building at any point during the day.


PCSSD will allow visitors on a  limited basis this school year:

  • Open House - follow instructions on limited attendance provided by each school.

  • First Day of School - new students may be escorted to his/her classroom on the first day of school. Parents may walk their child to the classroom, but we ask that you not linger after dropping them off. Masks are required of all guests in the building.

  • No visitor should be inside the building for more than 15 minutes.


In our ongoing efforts to safeguard the health of all students and staff, volunteers will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the last 24 hours in order to enter and remain in the building for more than 15 minutes for volunteer purposes. If a volunteer plans to be in the building multiple days, he/she must provide a negative COVID-19 test result every two weeks. In lieu of a negative COVID-19 test, volunteers may present proof of full vaccination.

Hand sanitizing stations will continue to be present throughout the schools and district buildings. Hand washing and sanitizing will be encouraged for all students and staff throughout the day. The PCSSD custodial staff will continue with the intense cleaning measures that were implemented in the 2020-2021 school year. Part of those extensive cleaning measures include the dedicated deep-cleaning efforts every Wednesday by the custodial teams. All staff will be out of the building during this time on Wednesdays. Additionally, all PCSSD school buses will have the additional cleaning and sanitizing measures between bus routes.



If a student or staff member is identified as a probable close contact he/she must quarantine for the required number of days as recommended by the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health. However, if he/she is vaccinated and does not have any COVID-19 related symptoms, the CDC does not require that person to quarantine. If any symptoms do exist, he/she will be required to follow the quarantine guidelines set forth by the CDC

Furthermore, an individual exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will not need to quarantine if the individual exposed has no symptoms and both the infected and exposed individual consistently and correctly were wearing a mask. This quarantine guideline comes from the Arkansas Department of Education's Ready for Learning COVID-19 Guidance (refer to page 7 of PDF).


Close Contacts who develop SYMPTOMS while in quarantine:  

ISOLATE at home and encourage testing for COVID-19

  • If tested for COVID-19 by PCR after symptom onset and negative, close contact can return upon completion of quarantine period (7, 10, or 14 days), provided no symptoms are present at time of return and close contact has not had fever for at least 48 hours.

  • If tested for COVID-19 by PCR after symptom onset and positive, notify School POC to report a positive case.

    • Isolation period will be 10 days from onset of symptoms.

  • If NOT test, close contact should isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms

PCC Not Required to Quarantine, but Develops Symptoms Following Exposure

If a PCC who does not have to quarantine due to one of the following:

  • Fully vaccinated for COVID-19

  • Within the 90 day immunity period post COVID-19

  • In a K-12 setting where both the positive case and the PCC were properly wearing masks

develops symptoms within the 14 days following exposure they should isolate and be clinically evaluated for COVID-19. They may return to school/work when they have been fever-free for at least 48 hours and their symptoms have resolved along with at least one of the following:

  • A negative COVID-19 PCR test (a negative rapid antigen is not adequate due to the presence of symptoms)


  • They have been evaluated by a physician, it has been determined that it is an illness other than COVID-19, and they have documentation stating so


  • 10 days have passed since symptom onset