Arkansas to provide COVID-19 data to school districts

KNWA

"It just puts a different geographical filter on data that we already have," Orpin said. "It doesn't really give us any information on how many students and staff have been infected with COVID in an individual school district."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Starting this week, the Arkansas Department of Health will provide COVID-19 data to school districts across the state.

Arkansas Secretary of Education, Johnny Key, said this will help districts make informed decisions on how to respond to COVID-19 cases.

“They will need this data to help them with the response levels,” Secretary Key said. “As we see the cases occur that are connected with the school district, they can take this data, and look at what’s going on in their district.”

The data will be laid out over school district maps and will include active cases and positivity rates.

While district-wide data will become available, it will only be the total number of cases in the district as opposed to a more specific number of students and educators with COVID-19 at the district’s facilities.

Misty Orpin is the founder and operator of ArkansasCovid, a social media account that tracks coronavirus related data.

Orpin said this is a step in the right direction, but feels in order for Arkansans to make decisions about the health of their families, the data should be more in-depth — including grades and locations.

“It just puts a different geographical filter on data that we already have,” Orpin said. “It doesn’t really give us any information on how many students and staff have been infected with COVID in an individual school district.”

We need to understand better where spread occurs when people go back to school and is it safe for our kids to be in school?

MISTY ORPIN, ARKANSASCOVID, FOUNDER 

Orpin said the Arkansas Department of Health told her it’s working on trying to get this data.

Stay with KNWA/FOX 24 as we continue to follow this story.

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