ARKANSAS, USA — In his weekly press briefing, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the new quarantine protocol for students in grades kindergarten through 12th.
The protocol changes the qualifications for close contact when a new infection arises. Previously, students were required to quarantine if they came into close contact or within six feet of someone who tests positive for 15 minutes.
Now, quarantine is required if the student is within three feet of someone infected with the virus for 15 minutes.
“This is important to know that this also does not affect daycare centers, child care centers or higher education this is only k through 12. The governor pointed out we can eliminate quarantine if you vaccinate. Vaccination is the best way to avoid going into quarantined,” said Arkansas Department of Health Secretary Dr. Jose Romero.
That’s just one of the many changes the governor announced on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Gov. Hutchinson also said that "Test-to-Stay" will now be extended to extracurricular activities. Before, the COVID-19 testing provided by schools was just for classes during the day.
These changes come as educators continue to struggle with learning loss. Quarantine is removing more students from the classroom and it makes it harder for them to keep up.
“He brought a number of superintendents in that made a case that the quarantines are really causing a great deal of loss in education and they questioned some of the some of the balance that we have,” Gov. Hutchinson said.
Dr. Romero also said the best form of protection against the virus is masking up and getting the vaccine. He also adds that he is expecting the COVID-19 vaccine will be approved for students five and older in early November.