Five school districts in Southeast Arkansas are considered at high risk of Covid-19 outbreaks based on the number of new coronavirus cases over the last two weeks in the community where the district is located, according to information released by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement which provides trend information on new cases in Arkansas communities and public school districts. 

The Dermott, Hamburg, Lakeside, Monticello and Warren school districts are shown on an interactive map as high-risk with a new case rate of 50 or more new cases per 10,000 during the last two weeks. Rates that indicate the highest level of risk are shown in red. You can view the interactive map HERE.

The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement Covid-19 web page where the interactive map is shown includes other data and information, including trends over time with 14-day rates from the previous three weeks.

“With schools across the state opening next week, we are providing this information to help inform parents and decision makers about the local level of risk,” ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said. “Tracking the direction in which new infections are trending will provide useful information about whether the risk is increasing or decreasing in a district.”

At his daily Covid-19 briefing on Thursday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the information shows the risk in the community which impacts the school. School districts can use the information, with guidance from the state Department of Health and state Department of Education, to help prevent an outbreak of the virus in schools.

“If it’s a high-risk area in the community but there’s no cases in the school, and you’ve been operating for a couple weeks, well, there’s not any need to adjust, to go to a different modification, because you’re managing it within the school environment, and you’re making decisions based upon that,” he said. “If you have a couple cases that arise within the school, then you have to say, all right, how should we handle this in context of what’s happening in the community?”

At his daily Covid-19 briefing on Friday, Hutchinson reported that the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Arkansas rose by 887 bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases to 55,652 while the number of deaths attributed the the virus increased by 22, the largest single-day increase since Mach 11 when Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared the public health emergency.