Schools able to begin ‘Test to Stay’ program this week; quarantine guidelines to loosen

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A program that loosens school quarantine guidelines is starting soon for some Arkansas schools.

We know the Springdale and Bentonville School Districts qualified for this program called ‘Test to Stay’ and it does just that- it allows students to keep coming to campus if they are exposed to COVID-19 as long as they test negative for the virus every day and wear a mask.

It is unclear, however, if Bentonville will participate.

Dr. Joel Tumlison with the Arkansas Department of Health said the district opted out of the program, but a spokesperson for the district said that has yet to be decided.

We remain in communication with the department of health to determine the best approach to implementing the test to stay program in Bentonville schools.”

LESLEE WRIGHT, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, BENTONVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT

In the Springdale School District, plans for the program are already underway. The Communications Director for Springdale Schools said the district will launch the program as soon as the tests come in, which is expected to be this week or next.

“Springdale schools are proud to be in a leadership position where we can at least offer some options for people to be able to stay in school,” said Trent Jones.

Both Jones and Dr. Tumlison said implementing this program is a balance of weighing risks and benefits.

“It’s a delicate balance between making sure we create an environment that is healthy and safe where we can focus on learning and enriching teaching and learning, but when you’re falling into quarantine protocols and you’re healthy, that does nothing but throw lots of issues into our community,” Jones said.

Jones said every student and staff member in Springdale is eligible to participate as long as they agree to it.

It will be school nurses conducting the tests on campus every day.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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