Community COVID-19 cases putting dozens of new schools in “red zone”

Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 9:04 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - In the last two weeks, the number of school districts with known COVID-19 infections has doubled. More than half of those districts, according to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, are located in Northeast Arkansas.

ACHI reported Thursday that 42 districts have had 50 or more new infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period. That’s up from 26 a week earlier.

According to a Thursday news release, “ACHI identified school districts in the “red zone” for infections by analyzing data received Monday from the Arkansas Department of Health.”

The infections are among the people in the community living within the boundaries of the districts and are not limited to students and school employees. Known infections, according to ACHI, include both confirmed and probable cases based on verbal reporting and antigen test results.

Five school districts—all of them in Northeast Arkansas—reported more than 1% of the district’s population is newly infected: Lawrence County, Marked Tree, Mammoth Spring, Sloan-Hendrix, and Hoxie.

“This virus is an invisible and serious threat, and we’re seeing its continued spread across our state,” said ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson. “Infections in our communities threaten our schools, and there are more reports of young, healthy individuals who are impacted by COVID-19.”

He urged residents to wear masks, stay socially distanced, and wash their hands.

“This is the time to be smart and not afraid,” Thompson said. “Take precautions to safeguard your family.”

The list of school districts with a rate of at least 50 new known infections per 10,000 district residents for Oct. 5 through 19 include (an asterisk denotes a district entered the “red zone” this week):

  • Armorel School District
  • Barton-Lexa School District
  • Blytheville School District*
  • Brinkley School District*
  • Brookland School District
  • Buffalo Island Central School District*
  • Clarendon School District
  • Concord Public Schools*
  • Corning Public Schools
  • Deer/Mount Judea School District
  • Dierks School District*
  • Green Forest School District
  • Greene County Technical School District*
  • Greenwood School District*
  • Harrisburg School District*
  • Helena-West Helena School District*
  • Hillcrest School District*
  • Hoxie School District
  • Jackson County School District
  • Jonesboro Public Schools*
  • Lawrence County School District
  • Mammoth Spring Schools
  • Manila School District*
  • Marked Tree School District
  • Marmaduke School District*
  • Maynard School District*
  • Mulberry School District
  • Nettleton School District
  • Nevada School District*
  • Ouachita School District*
  • Ozark School District
  • Paragould School District*
  • Paris School District
  • Pocahontas School District*
  • Riverside School District*
  • Scranton School District*
  • Searcy School District*
  • Sloan-Hendrix School District
  • Spring Hill School District
  • Trumann Schools*
  • Valley View School District*
  • Westside Consolidated School District

Newport and Cedar Ridge districts were among seven districts that were in the red zone a week earlier but have dropped below that level this week. The others included Berryville, County Line, DeWitt, Stuttgart, and Viola.

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