More than 800 quarantined, dozens of positive cases in Arkansas school district

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 10:30 AM CDT
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MARION, Ark. (WMC) - The number of quarantined students continues to increase after a week and a half into the new year at Marion School District.

About 15 miles west of Memphis, the small Arkansas district began the 2021-22 school year July 26. By Monday, there were nearly 170 students in quarantine.

As of Thursday morning, Superintendent Glen Fenter says there are now 839 students and staff in quarantine with positive COVID-19 cases in 46 students and 10 staff.

“I can tell you if nothing changes and our numbers continue the direction that they appear to be headed we’re going to have another school year where students don’t learn and have another interruption in our economic evolution in terms of our progress and it’s not just going to be happening in Marion America,” Fenter said at the start of the special session. “It’s going to happen all over the state of Arkansas.”

Fenter is at the state Capitol this week lobbying for an amendment to the state’s mask mandate ban. He and Gov. Asa Hutchinson want schools to be able to issue their own mask guidelines.

The legislature is in a special session discussing potential changes to the law Hutchinson signed earlier this year.

“In hindsight, I wish that had not become law,” the governor said during his Tuesday COVID-19 briefing. “But it is the law and the only chance we have is to amend it or for the courts to say it has an unconstitutional foundation.”

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