Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

New quarantine guidelines get students back in class, cut down on learning loss

Coronavirus
January 01 2022 12:00 am

CENTRAL ARKANSAS — School districts in Arkansas are walking into a new week with another set of new quarantine guidelines.

Tuesday, Governor Hutchinson announced social distancing guidelines for schools will be changed from 6 foot to 3 foot He says he’s doing this to keep more students in the classroom and cut down on learning loss.

“We had students that we’re getting sent home anywhere from 5 days to 14 days at a time,” said Cabot Public Schools Executive Director of Curriculum and instruction Aaron Randolph.

Randolph says quarantines still prove to be a problem in Cabot. According to the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard, a little over 160 students have been quarantined in October so far.

Randolph says very few tested positive.

“It was just very difficult to maintain not only consistent levels of education but also maintain those relationships,” Randolph said.

Cabot Public Schools says districts in Arkansas have been overly cautious but with cases on the downturn, a new problem arises.

“We could look at test scores, we could look at participation on assignments and yes there was a negative trend in a lot of places,” Randolph said.

Randolph says the district’s learning loss isn’t completely due to quarantines, but they do play a big role in the problem.

“I think they need to just get rid of the quarantine altogether,” Conway Public Schools parent Samantha Bailey said.

Bailey says her six-year-old was sent home for a week to quarantine at the beginning of the year, impacting her studies and her social skills.

“She had just started getting used to having friends and then being home, it was a drastic change,” Bailey said.

The social distancing changes will go into effect immediately. The Arkansas Dept. of Health ensures parents the benefits of the change outweigh the health risks.

“There is more mask-wearing at schools, you can remind kids to wash their hands – and you have them in assigned seats,” Arkansas Dept. of Health physician Dr. Joel Tumlison said.

The Arkansas Dept. of Health says if cases tick up, quarantine guidelines will become stricter.

For a full list of other guidelines for students, click here.

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