Arkansas Center for Health Improvement pushes for safer schools


Pupils wearing a face mask to protect against the spread of coronavirus attend a class at Maestro Padilla school as the new school year begins, in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. Around 8 million children in Spain are set to start the new school year. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – We’re almost a month into the 2021-2022 school year and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement says it’s continuing to working diligently to protect your kids. 

The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement says it’s starting to see fewer school districts in the red and purple zones for COVID-19 infection rates. 

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still seeing higher levels of school transmission rates than it would like. 

CEO and president of the ACHI, Dr. Joe Thompson, say student and staff vaccination rates are going to be pivotal in making the classroom a safer place. 

He says school districts being transparent with the most up-to-date numbers should be daily, especially with the Delta variant continuing to be a problem. 

“It’s a very different virus than the parent. It is more than twice as infectious, it is affecting younger and younger people, the majority of those affected are below age 55, and we now have children at the hospital on serious life support mechanisms,” says Dr. Thompson. 

Alan Wilbourn “94% of our staff members are vaccinated, but the percentage of the student body who is vaccinated is a lot less than that,” said Alan Wilbourn with Fayetteville Public Schools

Wilbourn says their staff vaccination rate is something they’re very proud of. 

Their student vaccination rate is something they are looking to increase every day through vaccination clinics and continued encouragement.

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