SEARCY, Ark. – One month until students filter back into schools across the state, and the delta variant is hitting more younger people, which is giving school officials some concerns.
As the clock ticks down to the first bell, Searcy School District administrators are preparing their plans for how to tackle this year.
Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said that because of the spike in cases, things like social distancing and sanitation aren’t going away any time soon.
“We see the number of cases in our state are starting to go up. We’re all a little deflated and a little overwhelmed because we thought we had wrestled this bear,” Hart said. “We’re going to stay right where we were with the exception of masks.”
While the district can’t mandate face coverings, Hart said they will be highly encouraged.
Vaccination numbers in the state remain low and those under 12 still can’t get the shot. That’s why the district has two full-time contact tracers.
“They’re on call 24/7 basically trying to make phone calls and do the work non-stop,” Dr. Hart said.
Those protocols are still the same so anyone unvaccinated who is a close contact has to quarantine for 14 days. That means teachers and students have to be prepared to switch to virtual learning at a moment’s notice.
“In the last probably week to ten days we’ve realized we still have work to do,” Dr. Hart said.
As Dr. Hart looks forward to seeing students back in the classroom, he hopes they can keep everyone safe and healthy.
“I don’t know that there’s ever going to be another normal school year for quite some time,” Dr. Hart said.
Hart said he encourages students and staff to get vaccinated. As of last school year, more than 60% of staff had gotten the shot.
Medical Center Pharmacy will host a vaccination clinic July 22 at College Church of Christ.