Thousands of Arkansas Teachers Have Gotten Sick Since Schools Reopened
California has been slow to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, but a devastating report out of Arkansas underscores the importance of caution.
Around 2,060 Arkansas public school teachers and staff have contracted the virus since Aug. 24, according to the state’s health department. At least 60 have been hospitalized and several have died.
“Based on those figures, between 2.4% and 2.9% of public school employees tested positive just in the last two months — an incidence rate higher than the roughly 1.4% rate in the rest of the state’s population over the same period,” Arkansas Nonprofit News Network reports. “This data suggests that the relative risk of infection for public school employees is significantly higher compared to the general population, though it does not adjust for demographics or other differences between the groups. (For example, school employees may get tested more frequently than most people.)”
It’s not clear how many cases were contracted at or outside of school. But according to the health department, there has been “a general increase in the number of cases associated with public schools.”