Arkansas schools seeing rise in COVID-19 cases after holiday break

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 3:25 PM CST
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LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) - Most schools are back in session after the holiday break. And Arkansas leaders say the new term is bringing added challenges in keeping students and staffers safe.

“Last summer, we saw the cases go down, but now they are up,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in his weekly COVID-19 address Tuesday, Jan. 4.

The governor’s address centered around public schools’ fight against COVID-19. With most schools now back in session, some say they’re seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“We have 10 active cases; and out of those 10, one of them is a staff member,” said Opel Anderson, assistant superintendent for Lafayette County School District.

Anderson said this number of cases may not sound like much, but it’s higher than what the district experienced before the holidays. Along with the 10 active cases, 11 students are out quarantining.

As of now, Anderson said, they will continue to follow the COVID-19 protocols from the beginning of the school year.

“We are going to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated. We are encouraging our staff members to get vaccinated. We continue to encourage the wearing of masks and frequent washing of the hands.”

There is no mask mandate in the county, but the governor said statistics show the mandate helps.

“School districts that had a full mask mandate, student and staff, saw a reduction of 25% in their COVID-19 case rates. So I know each school district will be looking at that as an option,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

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