Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Conway closes elementary school Friday as pediatrician warns of continued COVID cases


CONWAY, Ark. – An elementary school in Conway had to close Friday because of a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases.

Julia Lee Moore Elementary reported 30 active cases among students and staff and made the call to close Thursday night.

391 students and about 50 staff members weren’t in school Friday.

Conway Public Schools says it decided to close in the best interest of the kids.

Health experts say these case numbers are a reminder that COVID-19 is still an issue to take seriously.

“I think there may have been six or 700 cases yesterday and then the 30 cases at this particular elementary school,” said Dr. Janell Vinson, a pediatrician at Baptist Health Pediatric Clinic in Conway.

Dr. Vinson says while the COVID-19 numbers aren’t as high as they were this summer, she’s still seeing children come in with the virus.

“Kids and adults can still get COVID,” she said. “It is still very real, it is still very serious, so we’re not quite out of the woods yet.”

Her best advice to keep case numbers down and keep kids in school is for eligible people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“My little 9-year-old went this morning and she rolled up her little sleeve and very proudly got her vaccine this morning,” Vinson said.

Vinson says the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the issues that come with the COVID-19 virus.

Conway Public Schools say Julia Lee Moore Elementary will reopen on Monday.

The district says only students who have tested positive for COVID-19 are required to provide a negative test result before returning.

The district adds quarantined students who wish to return on Day 8 of a 10-day quarantine may do so with a negative test result, as well.

Less than a month ago, the district announced it was lifting its mask requirements in school buildings. Students and staff still do have the option of wearing them.

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