Parkers Chapel rescinds mask policy, will now require masks for students and staff temporarily

Arkansas News

UNION COUNTY, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) 8/26/11 — We’re nearing the end of the second week of school and at least one Arkansas school district has changed its mask policy.

Parkers Chapel School District will now have a temporary mask mandate following the school board’s vote in a special called meeting Wednesday night.

“We know that in order to keep our kids in school we are going to have to wear them,” Superintendent John Gross said.

As of August 26, the Parkers Chapel School District has 13 students who have tested positive for covid-19 and 94 students who are quarantining. This caused the junior high football game to be canceled against Bearden.

“In the elementary school it’s more outside families testing positive but in the high school we are getting more positive cases in the high school and we’re having to quarantine because of contact tracing,” he said.

The Hamburg School District, who doesn’t have a mask policy, tops the quarantine list with 136 students and staff currently home quarantining because of the coronavirus. There are 26 active cases among students and staff in the district.

Parkers Chapel Superintendent John Gross believes the numbers will continue to increase and it was was important the board took immediate action.

“I think it’s necessary and we will try to get back to normal as soon as we possibly can,” he said. “We need to be able to have our pep rallies. We need to be able to have our football games. Our teachers want to be able to teach our kids in in-class instruction. It’s not fair that we have to send students home and they’re not able to be kids anymore.”

Gross says the decision to require masks is temporary and that the numbers will be revisited weekly. If cases and quarantine numbers go down, then masks may be optional again.

Of the nearly 5,000 students in the El Dorado School District, there are 14 active cases among students and 57 students are quarantining.

Superintendent Jim Tucker says had there not been a mask mandate, there would be 441 students in the district who be quarantining in this second week of school.

Here is a list of districts and their current quarantine/covid case count as of August 26 (P=positive, Q=Quarantine):

Junction City: P-5 students | Q-14 students | P-2 staff members | Q-4 staff members

Strong-Huttig: P-1 student | Q-3 students | No staff Q/P (Student Population: 314)

Crossett: P-15 students/staff | Q-49 students/staff (As of 8/24/21)

Hamburg: P-26 students/staff | Q-136 students/staff (Student Population: 1,586)

Camden Fairview: P-11 students | Q-51 students | P-1 staff member

Magnolia: P-24 students | P-3 staff members (Approx. 2.7K student population)

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