Marion students must mask up after nearly 100 test positive for COVID-19

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Students and staff in Marion, Arkansas school district will be required to mask up as nearly 100 students tested positive for Covid-19 and 1,200 were sent home to quarantine.

Glen Fenter is the superintendent of the Marion school district. WREG spoke to him about the latest developments. 

“We feel like we have done what we can do and we will start to see positive outcomes from the number of students who have to be quarantined on the daily basis” Fenter said.

Since the start of the school year, 93 students and 13 staff have tested positive for Covid-19. With 1,300 sent to quarantine, state law prevented school districts from issuing mask mandates.

Later in the week, Fenter begged the lawmakers to reconsider. “Basically, got little if any positive response. I’m not sure many of those folks were listening,” Fenter said.

On August 6, a judge prevented the state from enforcing a mask mandate. On August 10, the school board unanimously voted to require students and staff to mask up regardless of what state law says.

“If we had masks on our students and our faculty from day one instead of having 1,200 quarantines, we would have experienced roughly 100.” Fenter said.

Other school districts are following suit. West Memphis schools have required masks. These rules apply “to all students, employees and adults on a school campus.”

With many people taking sides, Fenter is aware of the heated debate.

“Sometimes these decisions aren’t popular but they are the right decisions and thankfully that’s the tact our board continues to take,” he said.

The ruling could be appealed at any time, and Governor Hutchinson says he has since regretted singing the ban into law.

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