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  • Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

Parent speaks out about Covid-19 outbreak in Marion School District

Updated: Aug 12, 2021

MARION, Ark- Roberta White says her Marion High School children were eager to get back into the classroom after completing school fully virtually last year.

But once they did, the Coronavirus started to spread within days of the new school year.

White questions if the district did prepare enough to return to in-person learning.

“I think the rules of masks should of stayed in place,” says Marion School District mother Roberta White. “The fact that if they thought it through as far as allowing all to come back to school after one year going virtual. Having a plan in place if you’re going to do one year and then everybody has to come back.”

White wishes the school district would have eased students back into the classroom with a clear plan and require masks on campus.

However, Act 1002 prevents school districts from issuing mask mandates.

Governor Hutchinson, calling a special session, hoping to amend the law.

Both proposed bills did not make it out of the committee. Marion Superintendent Glen Fenter, speaking to lawmakers urging them to allow districts to create their mandates.

“If our students had been under the same mask mandate that we administered last year, instead of having 730 people quarantined, we woulda had 42," the superintendent says.

This is just the second week of classes for the 4,000-student district, but cases started popping up after the first week.

By Thursday morning, 800 students were in quarantine with, 56 students and 10 staff testing positive for Covid-19.

White’s sons mask up for school, but that doesn’t give her too much comfort.

“It’s concerning, ya, know? That the teachers don’t wear masks. It’s concerning that, they’re not really enforcing that into the school. You have all kids now back into the Marion School District. Before Covid, you had a lot of kids coming to school sick. So, it’s easy to catch germs from someone,” she says.

White hopes this will serve as a learning experience for Marion and other districts.

The Marion School District is now one of multiple districts that have filed a lawsuit challenging the mask mandate.


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