Crawford County schools report fewer COVID cases

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier
A heat map from the Arkansas Center for Health improvement shows the most recent COVID-19 data for the Van Buren School District

School districts in Crawford County are seeing lower numbers in COVID cases. School officials are hopeful that this trend continues to make for an easier fall semester.

As of Feb. 11, the last available date from the Arkansas Department of Health, there are 46 active cases in Crawford County schools. The ADH does not report on schools that have less than five active cases.

Van Buren School District currently has 25 active cases, Alma has 20, and Mulberry/Pleasant View has one active case.

"I am hopeful that the downward trend will continue," said David Woolly, superintendent of Alma School District. "But certainly we have no way of knowing."

Woolly attributes the lower numbers to the precautions that have been taken by the students and faculty. This includes wearing masks, social distancing, constant disinfecting, and the rising number of vaccinated staff. Staff and faculty of Arkansas school are currently being vaccinated in phase 1-b of their vaccination plan. 

During the Alma School Board meeting on Feb. 11, Woolly said students are more likely to catch the virus outside of school in their day-to-day lives. Woolly knows this from the contact tracing that the school has in place.

Alma School District currently has 25 students who have come into close contact with students with active cases quarantined. 

Superintendent of Van Buren Schools Harold Jeffcoat says he could not be more proud of how well the teachers and students have handled the school year. Both Jeffcoat and Woolly are optimistic about the next school year. 

"Based on all that we have learned in terms of providing an education during a pandemic, I believe our students and staff will not miss a beat next fall," said Jeffcoat. 

Woolly says he doesn't expect everything to be back to normal, but he does expect fewer restrictions and limitations. 

"For that to happen, we must all follow the guidelines, including getting a vaccination," said Woolly.

ACHI numbers

According to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, a total of 102 Arkansas school districts have COVID-19 infection rates of 50 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, down from 128 a week ago.

Of those districts, seven have 14-day COVID-19 infection rates of 100 or more new known infections per 10,000 district residents or more than 1% of local residents. Alma, Van Buren, and Mulberry/Pleasent View are included in these districts.