SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Governor Asa Hutchinson says a spike in COVID-19 cases this week is due- in part- to schools opening back up.
The Arkansas Department of Health says there are 24,700 active cases. More than 3,500 are new and 1,400 are in a hospital. Our state death toll is now 6,581.
School districts are also already seeing a spike in cases.
In the Siloam Springs School District, new cases are being reported every day.
According to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, it has seen 21 new positive cases among students this week and 95 are in quarantine. Seven of those 21 cases were actually on campus this week.
Dr. Ivy Pfeffer with the Arkansas Department of Education said case and quarantine counts are lower in certain schools for specific reasons.
“That’s due to the number of vaccinations that staff and students have received and also because several of our districts have implemented mask requirements,” she said.
The Siloam Springs School District does not require masks. This comes after board members voted against a mandate last week.
Assistant Superintendent Shane Patrick said the board can always go back and change the decision, but there is currently no indication that will happen.
“We don’t have another school board meeting until September and to my knowledge, there hasn’t been any discussion of that.”
So, as the case count already makes its way up, Assistant Superintendent Shane Patrick said the district is now working to report new COVID-19 numbers daily instead of weekly.
“You’re going to be able to see what happened daily as well as an active case count for cases that are active and ongoing in the district,” Patrick said.
Patrick said it is hard to say if more cases are coming from inside the school compared to this time last year because we are only a few days into the new school year.
“My gut tells me numbers are going to be higher and they’re higher right now,” he said. “We did not start out the year having this many kids in quarantine.”
Patrick tells me the district is currently revamping its system to provide daily COVID-19 numbers, but if your child is in the district, you should be able to find the new daily case count starting Friday, August 20 or Monday, August 23.
BENTONVILLE COVID-19 DASHBOARD: COVID-19 / Covid-19 Dashboard (bentonvillek12.org)
SPRINGDALE COVID-19 DASHBOARD: COVID-19 Information | Springdale Public Schools (sdale.org)
ROGERS COVID-19 DASHBOARD: Reporting COVID-19 / COVID-19 Cases (rogersschools.net)
FORT SMITH COVID-19 DASHBOARD: COVID-19 Updates (fortsmithschools.org)
FAYETTEVILLE COVID-19 DASHBOARD: Fayetteville Public Schools Covid-19 Dashboard (google.com)