x
Breaking News
More () »

Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

COVID-19 in Arkansas Schools: What to do if your child comes in contact with someone who is sick

The Arkansas Department of Health recommends having a back-up plan now if your student is forced to learn virtually this school year.

ARKANSAS, USA — Many parents are worried about tracking the coronavirus (COVID-19) within classrooms. 5NEWS spoke with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) on their plan for contract tracing in schools, if a student or staff member is exposed to the virus. 

According to the ADH, it's the parent's responsibility to notify the school if a student tests positive for COVID-19. 

"If someone tests positive, it's very important for the parent to notify the school. Each school has appointed a point of contact," Dr. Joel Tumlison, Arkansas Department of Health, says. 

Then, that point of contact will look at student seating charts, extracurricular activities, to see who they came in close contact with. Exposed students will have to stay home until they are tested. 

Right now, the ADH says there is no state-wide number or percentage of student COVID-19 cases that would shut down a school. It's up to each district to decide. 

"if it's within a class, but hasn't shown signs of spreading, maybe the class needs to stay home, but not the school. But, if we see that it's spreading, maybe we can shut down the school, but not the district," Dr. Tumlison said. 

Melissa Williams told 5NEWS her daughter already had and recovered from COVID-19, and she is still worried about the risk. 

"Even though my daughter has had it, it's still a little bit nerve-racking because you never know if she'll get it again, and it might not be as mild of a case as last time," Williams said. 

The ADH recommends that parents have a backup plan for virtual school in case their child is exposed and needs to stay home to quarantine. 

You can track cases by Arkansas school districts by following this link

TRACKING COVID-19 IN ARKANSAS PLAYLIST

RELATED: Watch: Bentonville Schools Superintendent Discusses Returning To Classrooms Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

RELATED: Watch: Fort Smith Public Schools Superintendent discusses returning to the classrooms during COVID-19 pandemic