COVID-19 cases rising among school-aged kids; officials weigh in on potential causes

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – COVID-19 cases are once again rising among school-aged kids.

Health officials, like state epidemiologist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha and Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero, believe it could be due to schools dropping mask mandates.

“We are now seeing an increase in the number of cases that are associated with spread in the school setting,” Dr. Dillaha said.

In the Springdale School District, there’s been a 10% increase just in the last week. In addition, the percent of students quarantined last week more than doubled from the week before. 

“I think it’s really important that our community in Springdale recognizes that we have good choices in front of us to keep ourselves safe,” said Communications Director Trent Jones.

The Springdale School District dropped its mask mandate back in mid-September, but, Jones said social distancing and proper cleaning has been important to implement in the meantime.

“Now is the time to be vigilant, to take care of each other,” Jones said.

But Dr. Dillaha believes the consequence ending the mandate is just now starting to catch up with this district and others. 

She encourages parents to get their kids vaccinated because that rate is still low.

Fewer than 5% of 5-to-11 year olds are vaccinated. About 15% of 12-to-15 year olds are vaccinated.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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