Teacher & parent react to first day back to school; “It makes me worried to death.”

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ALMA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – It was the first day back at school for many kids in northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

“I am very anxious,” said Alma Teacher Lisa Neihouse. “More anxious than last year.”

It is a first day back to school many did not expect, including Neihouse. It is another new year beginning with COVID-19 still looming over our heads.

“This year we don’t have a mask mandate in my school district,” Neihouse said. “Today was more normal than last year because last year everyone had on masks.”

But, times are anything but normal.

“It makes me worried to death about these children, especially those 12 and under who cannot get vaccinated,” Neihouse said.

Alma is not the only one without a mask mandate, however. The Gentry School District is one of the several in Northwest Arkansas not requiring masks.

Christian Willis is the mom of three was who sent her kids back to Gentry Schools today.

“Some of the teachers that they have are the same teachers that we had because we grew up in this school system, so I think that’s even more important that they can share the same experiences that we had,” Willis said.

Both Willis and Neihouse said it is a priority to them for kids to be in the classroom, but safely.

“I would encourage you to drive one day and sit in a grade school primary parking lot and watch those little ones walk in all excited about school and think, ‘Could those children in about a week be very very sick because I didn’t get a shot?'”

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