FLIPPIN, Ark. (KY3) – The Flippin (Ark.) School district has sent elementary school students home for the remainder of the semester due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The district has been working on contact tracing and believes this to be an isolated event.
Throughout the fall semester, the district averaged less than 10 active cases at any one time. As of Monday, there were 16 active cases in elementary school alone. That number then rose to 32 at noon on Wednesday.
Arkansas Department of Health says increased COVID-19 cases and quarantines are on the rise statewide, but particularly in areas with lower vaccination rates and in districts without mask warrant.
“With the number of students we had anyway, and since this was an isolated incident in elementary school, we thought it would be beneficial for our students and in their best interest,” said Kelvin Hudson, Superintendent of Flippin Schools. âIt’s a burden on families when they don’t have a school to send their children to, so we keep that in mind, but with the health and safety of our students and the community at the forefront. of these decisions. “
It was a decision the administration deemed necessary. During the semester, Flippin never had a mask tenure at any time, but used e-learning and mitigation strategies to reduce the spread and prioritize in-person learning.
âWe think face-to-face teaching is the best, but we have that virtual option when we think our students are in close proximity is of concern to the community,â said Hudson. Fortunately, virtual learning can be beneficial in a case like this. “
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, Flippin is not alone. Several districts in Arkansas that do not have a mask warrant are seeing cases increase steadily.
In north-central Arkansas:
Mountain Home School District: 30 active cases
Harrison School District: 22 active cases
Bergman School District: 9 active cases
Jasper School District: 7 active cases
Yellville-Summit School District: 6 active cases
So, for many, the holidays can come just in time.
âAnyone who is currently in quarantine or testing positive would be back within the next two weeks if we were to be in session,â Hudson said.
Dr Jennifer Dillaha, chief medical officer for the Arkansas Department of Health, says if parents haven’t had their children vaccinated, now is the time. Early studies in the UK and South Africa show that while hospitalizations for the omicron variant are down in adults, hospitalizations are up almost 20% in children.
âWe have to have children in person, but most of all we have to keep them safe,â Dr Dillaha said.
Flippin’s principals have said they intend to start the spring semester normally with all students learning in person.
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