Local school districts in the ‘purple’ and ‘red’ for COVID-19


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — With students returning to school after winter break, school districts are reporting more COVID-19 cases.

There are currently 3,400 active cases across the state.

The Arkansas Department of Health reports more than 100 each in Springdale, Bentonville, Rogers, and Fort Smith.

Current data provided by Arkansas Center for Health Improvement reports a list of local districts are in the purple meaning they are within a community that’s had 100 or more new infections per 10,000 residents during a two-week period.

One district on the list is Gentry Schools. “We are continuing to follow our enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedule, we have provided masks to students transitioning back to onsite instruction and will continue to follow protocols,” Superintendent Terrie Metz said.

Metz said out of about 1,500 students, 96 positive cases have been reported within the district since the start of school.

Metz released the following statement:

Gentry Public School District
Current Student Count: 1469
Since the beginning of the school year in August we have a cumulative total of 96 positive cases
within our District, as of 1/13/2021, this includes staff and students. Daily updates can be found
at www.gentrypioneers.com
In August the District purchased the following Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), General
Protective Equipment and made the following safety improvements to our buildings:

● Clearview washable/reusable masks provided for onsite learning students grades K-5,
● Washable/reusable masks provided for onsite learning students grades 6-12,
● Clearview washable/reusable mask & washable/reusable mask for each staff member,
● Clear face shield for each staff member to use while interacting with students and
physical distancing is not possible,
● Campus Office(s) receptionist counter clear barriers for parents, visitors, and office staff,
● Hand sanitizer stations for each classroom and common areas,
● Water bottle fillers on water fountains at each campus, GCTEC, and PAC,
● Specialty hallway/common area signage and decals promoting physical distancing for
students and staff,
● Paper masks are kept on hand and provided for students who have forgotten their mask
and who are boarding a bus or entering any of the district buildings,
● Enhanced cleaning & disinfecting schedule for each building with priority given to
frequent touch surfaces,
● Disinfectant misting machines for mass sanitizing classrooms and campuses at the end of
each day.

In January we are continuing to follow our enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedule, we have
provided masks to students transitioning back to onsite instruction, and will continue to follow
protocols for physical distancing, wearing of masks, promoting good hand hygiene, and constant
review of Arkansas Department of Health and Department of Elementary and Secondary
Education guidelines, and safety.
In partnership with a local community-based pharmacy, a plan is currently being developed to
offer district staff the Covid-19 vaccine in an onsite immunization clinic.
Statewide cases are increasing as expected due to the recent holiday season and reports every day
show that Northwest Arkansas is seeing the impact from the high number of new cases. We have
to work together with the Governor’s initiative to wear a mask, keep our distance, and wash our
hands frequently.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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