Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday announced a new “healthy-school guide” to help school officials, educators, families plan for in-person learning as school resumes.

The guide was developed by the state Department of Health, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

“These documents are not meant to guide whether or not schools reopen or not. Those are decisions that Gov. Hutchinson, Secretary Key, and Secretary Romero will make,” said University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Chancellor Cam Patterson. “But these are guides for people in our community who are looking for guidance to be sure that as we bring our kids back to school that we do that in the healthiest way possible.”

You can see the guide HERE.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases covid-19 cases in Arkansas rose Thursday by 652, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 51,766. The number of active cases declined to 6,582, Hutchinson reported at his daily Covid-19 update.

The number of deaths attributed to the virus increased by nine, to 582, while the number of number of Arkansans hospitalized with covid-19 fell by 13 to 473.

Following his report of new cases, Hutchinson pointed to a graph showing covid-19 cases among children.

The graph shows a decline in the number of cases in children between the ages of 0-5, 6-9, and 10-18.

“It looks like we’re having an influence on these curves of positivity, in part, from this mask mandate and we hope to see this continue downward,” said Arkansas Health Secretary Dr. José Romero. “It will probably not completely disappear, as the governor has said. There are cases now in the community, there will be cases in the community, and there will be cases in school in the coming months, weeks, but we are prepared for that. We have a plan to investigate those patients that could have symptoms and to do contact tracing.”

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