Parents concerned as cases surge in Marion school district


MARION, Ar. — The Marion School District superintendent spoke to state leaders about the importance of masks and his district’s experience Wednesday.

His appearance comes as hundreds of more students and staff are in quarantine following positive COVID-19 cases.

“We believe our experience is going to be very similar to the rest of the state and I’m not sure folks are ready,” Marion School District superintendent, Dr. Glen Fenter said.

Fenter has a clear message for the entire state of Arkansas following his visit to the states-general assembly Wednesday.

“For us, the message is, masks make a difference in how many students we can keep in school,” Fenter said. 

This follows 43 positive COVID-19 cases since school started July 26th. Now more than 750 students and employees are in quarantine.

Dr. Fenter said about 1/3 of the students in quarantine are 12-year-old and under.

“It’s like, okay common people, what’s the plan, what are we going to do,” Parent of two kids in the school district, Madeline Odom said. “We have to stop it, our kids can’t do it for themselves.” 

There are about 4,000 students and 400 staff in the school district. The number of people in quarantine continues to grow.

Parents said they are worried.

“My son, he’s in the 7th grade, he comes home saying ‘well the teachers not wearing masks,” Odom said. “You know, I’ve seen it myself going to open house and I’m like I don’t know if this is going to work.” 

“It’s a good school district, they are very concerned about the kids here and their staff but they need to take some different precautions, especially from here forward,” parent, Brian Williams said.

Williams said his 14-year-old son started showing symptoms Wednesday.

“He was extremely pale, I said dude what’s wrong,” Williams said. “He said daddy my nose is stopped up, I can’t hardly breathe, I can’t swallow anything.”

Williams said his son plays on the school’s football team and all the other players have been sent home to quarantine.

“No person on the team that no one doesn’t interact with. So if you send one player home, that has been in there practicing, they all need to go,” Williams said.

Williams said he’s not taking chances when it comes to his child and COVID-19.

“I got ahead of it, said okay we’ll go ahead get you tested on the front end. That way we know that’s already done,” Williams said.

Once his son started quarantining at home, Williams decided the entire family will get tested. 

Meanwhile, the school district is focusing on vaccines, they hosted a clinic on campus Wednesday.

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