UPDATE: On Thursday morning, Marion schools reported 839 were under quarantine, an increase of more than 100 from the day before. See earlier story below.
MARION, Ark. – The Marion School District held a five-hour vaccination clinic Wednesday at Patriot Arena as it was revealed at least 730 students and staff in the district are in quarantine.
Andrew Parker went to get vaccinated with his family after seeing the devastating impact of Covid firsthand.
“Knowing people close to me who actually got it. Yeah. Actually, someone’s daughter that I know just passed away this weekend from it,” said Parker.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson had set a goal on May 4 to achieve a 50 percent vaccination rate within 90 days.
Arkansas is now at 42 percent vaccination rate and Crittenden County lags behind at 28 percent.
With 43 testing positive for Covid in the Marion School District, parents are concerned.
“It’s all up in the air right now,” said Jennifer Jimenez.
Kathleen Cupples said she’s concerned for her 13-year-old grandson, even though he’s been vaccinated.
“He already has a teacher in quarantine right now, one of his teachers and she has 30 students in quarantine too,” Cupples said.
“I think eventually we’ve got to go back to virtual,” said Donald Nelson.
Barring a return to virtual learning, many parents say they would like to see the school district issue a mask mandate.
School districts currently aren’t allowed to under Arkansas law, but Hutchinson called a special session of the legislature Wednesday to try and have the law amended.
Marion Superintendent Dr. Glen Fenter spoke in favor of doing so.
“We have 700 students out of school for an extended period of time that would have still been in school if we had had the opportunity to have them masked,” said Fenter.
The district will hold another vaccination clinic at Patriot Arena on August 12. That one is intended for staff.