Arkansas teacher shares concerns about returning to school as COVID-19 cases surge

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.— Students and teachers across Arkansas are preparing to head back to school this week, as the state sees a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Arkansas Department of Health says the state is only beginning to see a spike in cases related to Christmas and New Year’s Eve gatherings.

One teacher in the East End School District says she feels it is too soon to go back to the classroom and that it is unsafe.

“If they tell us we have to go, we have to go,” said Rachael Allison. “I am pretty scared. I am pretty nervous about the situation.”

Allison will meet 26 fifth-graders for in person learning this week. She says she worries for everyone’s safety as COVID-19 cases rise in the state.

“I am pretty emotional about that because we have been told you shouldn’t meet in groups of 10 but I don’t understand how it’s ok to be in a classroom of 24 or 26 kids,” said Allison.

Allison has felt the heartache of COVID-19 in her own home. She says her fiancé has been in the hospital since November 16th and was on a ventilator for a portion of December.

“He can’t walk, he can’t feed himself very well because he has lost most of his muscle ability,” said Allison.

She says she wishes there was more time before meeting students face-to-face this week.

“I would like to see us wait until mid February– give time to see how many more cases will happen with the holidays and more time to get the vaccine in people,” said Allison.

In the Little Rock School District, Superintendent Mike Poore, is making it clear that safety is their main focus as students and teachers enter a new semester.

He says he wants parents to know it is not too late for them to choose the virtual learning option.

“It is important to remind families right now that you have a choice to make in terms of what you would like your educational delivery to be for your child,” said Mike Poore, LRSD Superintendent.

He also says LRSD will be limiting the number of people who attend athletic events this semester. Poore stated in a video posted to YouTube that only family members will be allowed to attend games in-person.

If you would like to watch the full video click: https://youtu.be/93AQ9FbVIr8

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