Batesville schools switch to AMI days amid COVID increase

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 10:10 PM CST
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INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Independence County is seeing a jump in new daily COVID-19 cases.

On Nov. 9, the county reported over 20 daily new cases, compared to 50 daily new cases on Nov. 16.

White River Medical Center President and CEO Gary Paxson said the jump in cases comes from the state’s low vaccination rate and the large gatherings for Halloween.

“There is definitely an increased risk of that if we don’t take the appropriate cautions to prevent that,” Paxson said.

The rise in cases is also forcing Batesville School District to take two Alternative Methods of Instruction days on Nov. 22 and 23 as a precaution.

“That’s a 35% increase across the county,” said Megan Renihan, Batesville School District communication coordinator.

This comes after the district lifted its mask mandate on Nov. 7. Another mandate will be implemented after Thanksgiving.

Renihan added the school is struggling to find substitutes, after reporting there are “a total of 67 employees out” due to COVID with both Eagle Mountain and the preschool missing twelve employees, which is the most out of all the campuses.

Paxson mentioned a winter surge has not been predicted yet, but he urges people in the community to take precautions by washing hands, wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting vaccinated.

“These measures are not comfortable for any of us, but they’re necessary and they’re shown to be beneficial. I would just remind everybody that your local healthcare workers are all very tired,” Paxson said.

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