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Arkansas doctors ask for stricter COVID protocols as some schools move online

"We're asking you to redouble and recommit to efforts on hand-washing standards, social distancing, increased ventilation," said one doctor.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock School district is moving to virtual learning for the rest of the week as health experts emphasize safety measures amid surging COVID cases in schools.

"We are going to shift for the next two days to be in a virtual delivery for instruction," LRSD Superintendent Poore said.

Superintendent Poore's announcement comes as the district reports nearly 200 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week.

A surge in cases seen not just in Little Rock, but across the state.

Shortly after LRSD's announcement, Dr. Joe Thompson with the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement sounded a call to prioritize safety, in schools statewide.

"The community risk of COVID-19 transmits directly into the school risk for COVID-19," Thompson said. "We're asking you to redouble and recommit to efforts on hand-washing standards, social distancing, increased ventilation."

But ACHI's support of a statewide classroom mask mandate differs from Governor Hutchinson's individualistic district approach.

"We have the ability of local school districts to make decisions, local governments can make decisions based upon Judge Fox's ruling," Hutchinson said.

As of now, the Pulaski County Special School District and 7th and 8th grades in North Little Rock Middle School have also followed suit with a move to virtual learning this week.

And while a difficult transition, some parents are just frustrated it didn't come sooner.

"I was still nervous, I was really apprehensive... it came extremely too late," one LRSD parent Natalie James said.

But either way, pushing forward the best way they know how.

James adding, "If we continue to go through this together, it's just going to make us 10 times stronger than we ever thought we could be."

Right now, these districts are just learning remotely through the end of the week, but the latest updates for learning changes can be found here.