The Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, which had planned to resume some public access Monday, has delayed that plan because of the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Said a news release:


Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Little Rock Central High School NHS is working to increase visitor access. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.


Due to an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arkansas, Little Rock Central High School NHS will delay Phase I access originally scheduled to begin on Monday, June 8.


Outdoor spaces at Little Rock Central High School NHS remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest federal, state, and local health guidance.

The release said plans to move to Phase I (visitor center access, exhibits, park film and limited programming), Phase II (scheduled tours of no more than 10 visitors), and Phase III (full access to the visitor center, exhibits, park film, bookstore and scheduled tours of no more than 50 participants) will be “contingent upon sufficient staff capacity, personal protective equipment, and current local and state health guidance.”

This is interesting in the context of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s indications twice last week that he’ll be announcing — despite the continuing rise in coronavirus cases in Arkansas and a record number of hospitalizations — that he’s thinking of further easing restrictions on activities, including some special consideration for parts of the state that show a lower incidence of the disease.


The governor has said the federal guidelines are only guidelines and each state is best able to assess its ability to move forward with normal activities. He has said increased testing in Arkansas and continued encouragement of safe distancing and cleanliness practices should protect the state as activities increase.