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Marion School District officials encourage student vaccinations after 7 cases identified

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2021 at 8:39 AM CDT
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MARION, Ark. (WMC) - After a full week of school, the Marion School District has reported seven students and three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting 169 students to quarantine.

“Things continue to head in the wrong direction in our community and most parts of our country,” said Methodist infectious disease specialist Dr. Shirin Mazumder.

Mazumder recommends parents with children eligible for the vaccine to get them vaccinated, and says there’s a large number of children who cannot get vaccinated and is why masking is so important.

“Unfortunately, we have a lot of children that are not eligible for the vaccine based on their age and I think that we need to do everything we can to keep them as safe as possible. And I do think that universal masking in schools is really important,” Mazumder said.

When it comes to masking in schools, because of Act 1002, districts cannot mandate masks. Last week, Governor Asa Hutchinson said he would like to amend the act.

Senator Keith Ingram says the governor has indicated he will call a special session Wednesday morning.

“This makes no sense not letting the local school districts make the decisions,” Ingram said.

The governor and Ingram have both said it’s not going to be easy, but say the safety of children and teachers is most important.

“Oh, I don’t think there’s any question that it’s going to be very difficult,” Ingram said. “It’s an uphill climb. I’m not sure the votes are there as of today.”

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