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Over 1,300 active COVID cases reported in Arkansas schools as students return to class

Arkansas public schools are reporting 1347 active COVID-19 cases as of August 16th, which was the first day of school for many districts across the state.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. — The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) has released a new tool that keeps track of the number of active COVID-19 cases within school districts across Arkansas. 

As of August 16, Arkansas public schools are reporting 1,347 active COVID cases of students and faculty. 

Behind the Marion school district in Eastern Arkansas, the Bentonville School District is reporting the second most active COVID -19 cases across the state.

Data released on Monday (August 16th) by the ADH says Bentonville had 52 active cases, but in the past two days, that number has grown to 99 active cases making up around 1 percent of students and faculty within the district, according to the school website. 

Health department leaders project there will be a difference in cases within schools that have a mask mandate and the ones that do not.  

"You would expect that places, where everyone is wearing masks, would have less spread than the ones who do not have very many people who are wearing masks," says Dr. Joel Tumlison, Outbreak Response ADH.

Dr. Tumlison says there has been an increase in vaccination rates among kids between the ages of 12 and 18 in the past two weeks, and hope it will keep numbers down.

"In the previous two-week period, something like 25 percent of all vaccinations given was to kids between the ages of 12-18, that is people getting their students ready for back to school and hearing the call to get them vaccinated as soon as possible," said Dr. Joel Tumlison with ADH Outbreak Response. 

The ADH data shows 39.5% of kids ages 12 to 18 in the state have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. The Health Department releases new school COVID-19 numbers on Mondays and Thursdays of every week.

For more information about the Arkansas Department of Health or the updated COVID case numbers in educational institutions, please visit their website.

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