Covid-19 case at one middle school in Arkansas sends all 7th and 8th grade students home for the week

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CROSSETT, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — Parents have already had to spend months with their kids while adapting to virtual learning. Now, some at the Crossett Middle School are having to do it again.

“Is she really going to learn,” Ava Conville said. “How can I help her?”

The school district announced on its Facebook page Sunday evening that the school has one active COVID-19 case and “several” on the teaching staff have been identified as close contacts and have been asked to quarantine.

“I think this is the second case but it’s not bad as it is now where they are quarantining 7th and 8th grade,” Michela Daniel said.

Michela Daniel is among many parents whose fears of the coronavirus are coming true. Conville is home quarantining with one of her 8th grade daughter who is waiting for her test results.

Not only is she worried about her daughter contracting the virus but she’s nervous about how remote learning will go this time around

“Mine had a hard time at the end of last year,” Conville said. “Learning remotely is hard because we parents don’t know anything.”

Aside from the learning challenges, connecting to the internet for students and teachers will be the biggest problem they will all face.

“It’s just do it where you can and get it in,” Conville said. “We share internet here and sometimes it just goes out. It would be better to have our own internet but I can’t afford that.”

How long will this last? Superintendent Gary Williams says at least until the end of the week and possibly next week depending on the number of teachers that are still out.

Williams couldn’t provide the number of students and teachers who are quarantining but assured NBC10 that these teachers are still able to do the work just at a distance.

No known transmission has circulated within a classroom. He says there haven’t been a “tremendous amount of positive cases” rather it’s the “close contacts that are causing the “disruption”.

“You have that one case and then you have a whole 7th & 8th grade student body being quarantined, then the whole football team and all of those coaches,” Daniel said. “Who’s next? They are eventually going to have to close these schools to keep the students, teachers and administration safe.”

According to Williams there are three people at the high school that have contracted the virus. They are just coming out of Homecoming week where a positive case suddenly canceled the home game Friday evening.

“Right before the kids were about to get on the football field, they canceled the game and quarantined the boys and then it just trickled on down from there,” Conville said.

Daniel and Conville believe the district is doing everything they can to keep students safe.

“They are doing their best. I know that. I see that first hand,” Conville said.

But the spread of the virus in general isn’t easing their worries. Conville just hopes those in the community and other parents can get together to make sure all of these students succeed.

“We need to figure out something that we can all do to make sure someone doesn’t get left behind,” she said.

A crew spent the holiday cleaning out the building for 5th and 6th grade students to return to school Tuesday. All other schools in the district will continue on-site learning.

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