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Is COVID-free return to class likely scenario? School leaders in Garland County working on safe return this fall



Garland County, Arkansas – Just when schools, students and teachers started their preparations for the new student year, the number of new Covid-19 is increasing day by day in Garland County.

With the low vaccination rates in the state and the more contagious Delta variant, Garland County school officials are having hard times preparing for the new school year.

“We had started working on a plan and then the cases started rising,” Jessieville School District Superintendent Melissa Speers said.

According to Speers, the social distancing measures and sanitation stations will be present at the schools for some more time as a result of the recent spike.

“We’ll still be sanitizing hands as students enter the classroom,” she said. “We’ll still be sanitizing desks in between class changes.”

Meanwhile, another problem for the Garland County schools officials is the fact that mask mandate has ended and can’t be reinstated. However, she highly recommends everyone to wear mask no matter if they are vaccinated or not.

Parents sending their children off in a few weeks, like Alyssa Pierce, say they feel better this year than last.

“Neither of my kids had been in the school system before, and then having COVID thrown on top of that it was a little bit scary,” she said.

Pierce, who also works in district, says she is very happy with all the precaution measures taken by the officials, staff, teacher and everyone in the process.

Garland County school officials also added that all summer pre-school activities have been cancelled and they are only focusing in students’ health and preparations for the upcoming school year.

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