The number of Arkansas public school districts with COVID-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period nearly quintupled this week, going from 28 last week to 138 this week “the largest week-to-week increase on record” new data show.
Arkansas is experiencing uncontrolled spread of the omicron variant,” ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said Wednesday. “Arkansans need to take immediate precautions, and local school leaders need to take actions to protect our children.”
Thompson said that during the current surge, school districts should take action, likely only short-term, to protect students and staff, including requiring masks and redoubling efforts at social distancing, hand washing, and increased ventilation. School leaders should also encourage vaccination and be prepared to transition temporarily to virtual learning if necessary, he said.
On Wednesday we issued a news release and held a virtual news conference to address the steep rise in COVID-19 infection rates at the school district level, which we report weekly based on analyses of Arkansas Department of Health data.