51 school districts across Arkansas enter the red zone this week


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – 51 new schools districts are in the state’s red zone this week according to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

A school district becomes part of the red zone when fifty or more people per 10,000 residents in the community test positive for the virus over a two week period.

Fayetteville School District is one of those that is now in the red zone.

While the red zone refers to the entire community and not just schools within a district, Dr. Joel Tumlinson with the Arkansas Department of Health said these two certainly correlate when it comes to the spread in an area, especially here in Washington County, as cases continue to rise.

“Our schools are going to be affected in large by what’s going on in the community,” he said.

Alan Wilbourne with Fayetteville School District said there are currently 48 active cases in Fayetteville schools, with 19 of those being staff members.

He said while this is only 4% of the student body and faculty, further decisions to slow the spread are on the table.

“Obviously we have made plans,” he said. “Every student this year is working on Chrome books so they can take that home, so the same things they’re working on today in the classroom they can work on tomorrow in the kitchen and we can pivot just that fast.”

This is a possibility Wilbourne worries may be even more likely after the holidays.

“Obviously everyone is very concerned about where will we be within a number of weeks as we get into flu season, the holiday get togethers- which we try to discourage but we know some will happen- and what impact will that have,” he said.

Dr. Tumlinson said this is something we all need to keep in mind this holiday season.

“I think that’s an important call to families and communities to think about how your decisions and plans on thanksgiving are going to impact your school, Dr. Tumlinson said.

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