MARION, Ark. — A Mid-South school district has more than 100 students quarantined after the first week of school.
The Marion school district in eastern Arkansas is trying to slow the spread of the virus and protect its students and staff. WREG-TV spoke with the superintendent and parents about what’s being done as the numbers continue to grow.
In Marion, Arkansas, the start of a new school year last week began with not just a return to the classroom, but for some students it meant being placed in quarantine because of COVID-19.
“Last week, we had seven cases in our student body that were proven to be positive. I think three in our faculty and staff that resulted in 168 people being students being quarantine,” said Marion School District Superintendent Glen Fenter.
The district has about 4,000 students and 400 hundred employees. Superintendent Dr. Glen Fenter says about 10 students and 15 staff members avoided quarantine as a result of receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
“Is any of it acceptable? No. Is any of it anything we desire? No. Are we working as hard as we can to prevent it? Yes. But is it a reality of the world we living in? Certainly,” said Fenter.
The district is encouraging all eligible students and staff to get vaccinated and wear facemasks while indoors.
“I think our school district is trying to be very cautious,” said Michelle Schwartz, a parent of two children in the Marion School District. “You’re expected to see students quarantined when our state is not allowing school districts to mandate masks at this time. So, when you’re not able to have that extra layer of protection for our students then you are going to see the numbers of quarantined students on the rise.”
Last week, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson declared a public health emergency after a surge in COVID-19 cases and announced a special legislative session to change a law that prevents public schools from requiring masks.
“We are certainly in favor of our students being required, faculty and staff being required to wear masks until we come out of this wilderness,” said Fenter.
Until then that means masking up and getting more people vaccinated. It’s a lesson the Marion School District hopes more people will learn.
“We are doing everything feasible, possible and in many cases some things many folks would be above and beyond the call of duty to keep our students safe,” said Fenter.
The Marion School District will be holding a vaccination clinic this Wednesday in hopes of getting more shots in arms for people living in the community.