GREENWOOD, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The Arkansas Department of Education is working to control COVID-19 outbreaks in schools across the state with rapid testing.
Greenwood High School is in the red zone, which means the district has reported fifty or more COVID-19 cases per 10,000 district residents over a two week period.
“We did have a spike increase in cases about two weeks ago, we actually went to remote instruction on Thursday, October 1st and Friday, October 2nd, but since then our numbers have decreased dramatically,” said Cody Chatman, Principal of Greenwood High School.
Greenwood High School and Junior High are one of the school districts that will receive antigen tests from the Arkansas Department of Health.
“At that point at the high school we had eight positives and around a hundred and five quarantined,” Chatman said.
Chatman said since entering the red zone, the district has seen a dramatic drop in cases.
He said there are now three students with COVID-19 and one of those students is doing remote classes. Only one staff member has the virus.
“We wanted to provide this opportunity to them just for some peace of mind and it also establishes some peace of mind for our community,” Chatman said.
Another school offered the antigen testing was Harp Elementary School, but, administrators passed on the resource, saying they’re confident enough in their own testing abilities.
“We have tried to build policies and procedures inside of our school district to do everything we can to keep our numbers low, and with our good partners we have in our community we have access to testing,” said Trent Jones, Communications Director for Springdale School District.
Meanwhile, Chatman said his district is happy to accept the extra help.
“We just want to be able to provide this to our staff members, we know that we have staff members on campus-whether it be at Greenwood High School or Greenwood Junior High School who are concerned,” Chatman said.
Department of Education Secretary, Johnny Key, said the ADH will start sending out testing kits to the chosen schools this Thursday. He also said they’ll begin choosing what other schools will receive the tests if more schools opt out of the opportunity, like Springdale School District.