Over 160 Students Already in Quarantine as Arkansas School District Deals With Delta Spread

Over 160 students are in quarantine after an Arkansas school district's first week of new classes.

As of two days ago, 168 students and three faculty members in the Marion School District were in quarantine, according to TV station KARK. Seven of the students and three faculty members have tested positive for the coronavirus, Marion School District Communications Director Andy Weld said on Saturday.

The school year started on July 26 for the eastern Arkansas district, whose "hybrid calendar" provides a two-week break in the fall for the students and faculty after the first nine weeks.

168 students and 3 teachers are in quarantine after the first week of school in Marion, Arkansas due to positive cases and possible exposure to Covid-19.

The delta variant is about to explode and fill hospitals with unvaccinated children.

— TheSadTruth💙 (@ReportsDaNews) August 2, 2021

The quarantine began just after the first week, following several reports of positive virus tests.

Ten students and 15 staff members were able to avoid the quarantine because they were fully vaccinated, Weld said. He added that the district is now offering a $200 stipend to staff members who have documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination.

On August 4, the district is hosting a community vaccination clinic, followed by a staff vaccination clinic on August 12, as it continues to push the need for the shots to county residents in one of the nation's least vaccinated states.

On Sunday, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 1,984 new cases and 948 new active cases, increasing total cases to 388,436 and total active cases to 19,738.

The state's secretary of health, Dr. José Romero, expressed his concerns about the school year, telling CNN, "We're seeing closures in day cares, we're seeing closures in summer camps, and all that leads me to believe that in a setting where you don't have strict mitigation that it will spread very, very quickly in our schools."

The Arkansas Department of Health's public information officer, Danyelle McNeill, previously told Newsweek it is "working very closely with the Arkansas Department of Education to provide recommendations to schools and school districts about how to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the school setting and to prepare for handling outbreaks in schools when they occur."

Vaccines are available in the United States to children over 12. The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) recommends that all eligible children get the shots before the school year begins.

"If parents drag their feet in getting their children vaccinated, students will be unnecessarily vulnerable to the virus when school starts," ACHI President and CEO Joe Thompson wrote in a column.

"Getting students back into the classroom is a worthy goal," Thompson added, "but with the highly contagious Delta variant and Arkansas' low vaccination rate driving a new COVID-19 surge in Arkansas, parents of school- and college-bound children need to take action now to ensure their kids are protected."

Newsweek reached out to the Marion School District for further comment but did not hear back before publication.

Some New York City Classrooms Go Remote
A school district in Arkansas has over a hundred students in quarantine after the first week of school, with multiple students and teachers testing positive for the coronavirus. Above, Melissa Moy, a teacher at Yung Wing School P.S. 124, goes over a lesson on a monitor with in-person summer program students on July 22 in New York City. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images