Current COVID numbers in Arkansas.

A bill under consideration at the Arkansas Capitol that would allow school districts to require masks once community spread of COVID-19 meets a specific threshold isn’t aggressive enough, but it’s better than nothing.

That’s the assessment from Dr. Joe Thompson, president of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

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Yesterday, Rep. Julie Mayberry (R-Hensley) proposed a bill that would allow local school boards to institute mask requirements if they so chose if COVID-19 spread within their district lines exceeded 50 cases per 10,000 people over 14 weeks.

That’s well beyond the level of spread that should trigger mandatory masking in schools, Thompson said in an ACHI press release Thursday. To wit, the Marion School District already 839 students and staff in quarantine during the second week of school because so many unmasked students and staff were exposed to someone with an active COVID-19 infection. Still, that district does not meet the threshold set out in the proposed bill for being allowed to consider a mask mandate.

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“No school district should be legally barred from protecting Arkansas children from harm,” Thompson said Thursday. “However, politically, if a trigger is necessary to reverse the legislative ban, I believe it should be no higher than 30 new known infections per 10,000 residents over 14 days ― which appears as orange on ACHI’s map. If the Legislature takes no action and allows the ban on mask mandates to remain in effect in all schools while the Delta variant rages in our communities, children will be avoidably exposed to the virus, some will be hospitalized, and likely some will die.”

Yesterday, 100 districts met the 50 per 10,000 over 14 days threshold laid out in Mayberry’s bill. Today, 140 of Arkansas’s 282 districts meet that criteria. They’re listed below. Asterisks mean the district just joined this dreaded list in the last week.

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  • Atkins*
  • Barton-Lexa – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Batesville
  • Bauxite
  • Bay
  • Bearden
  • Beebe
  • Benton
  • Bentonville*
  • Bergman
  • Berryville
  • Brookland – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Bryant
  • Cabot
  • Caddo Hills*
  • Calico Rock
  • Carlisle*
  • Cave City
  • Cedar Ridge
  • Cedarville*
  • Centerpoint
  • Clarksville*
  • Cleveland County
  • Clinton
  • Concord
  • Conway
  • Corning
  • Cotter – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Cross County*
  • Cutter-Morning Star – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Deer-Mt. Judea – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Des Arc*
  • DeWitt
  • East End – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Elkins*
  • Emerson-Taylor-Bradley*
  • Farmington
  • Fayetteville*
  • Flippin
  • Fordyce
  • Fort Smith*
  • Fountain Lake
  • Gentry*
  • Glen Rose*
  • Gravette*
  • Green Forest
  • Greenbrier
  • Greene County Tech
  • Greenwood*
  • Guy-Perkins
  • Harmony Grove (Saline County)
  • Harrisburg*
  • Harrison
  • Hazen*
  • Heber Springs – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Helena-West Helena
  • Highland*
  • Hot Springs*
  • Huntsville*
  • Izard County Consolidated
  • Jacksonville
  • Jasper*
  • Jessieville*
  • Jonesboro
  • Lake Hamilton
  • Lakeside*
  • Lamar*
  • Lavaca*
  • Lead Hill
  • Lincoln
  • Little Rock
  • Lonoke
  • Magazine*
  • Magnet Cove*
  • Malvern – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Mammoth Spring
  • Marked Tree*
  • Marmaduke*
  • Marvell – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Mayflower
  • McCrory*
  • Melbourne
  • Midland – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Monticello*
  • Mount Ida*
  • Mountain Home – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Mountain Pine – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Mountain View
  • Mt. Vernon-Enola
  • Nettleton*
  • Norfork
  • North Little Rock
  • Omaha
  • Ouachita
  • Ozark Mountain
  • Ozark*
  • Pangburn*
  • Paragould
  • Paris
  • Pea Ridge*
  • Perryville – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Pine Bluff
  • Poyen
  • Prairie Grove*
  • Prescott
  • Pulaski County Special
  • Quitman
  • Rivercrest*
  • Riverside
  • Riverview
  • Rogers
  • Rose Bud – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Salem
  • Searcy County – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents
  • Searcy*
  • Sheridan
  • Shirley
  • Siloam Springs
  • South Conway County*
  • South Pike County*
  • South Side
  • Southside
  • Springdale*
  • Star City*
  • Stuttgart
  • Trumann
  • Two Rivers
  • Valley Springs
  • Valley View
  • Vilonia
  • Viola
  • Warren
  • West Fork*
  • Westside Consolidated
  • White County Central
  • White Hall
  • Wonderview*
  • Woodlawn
  • Wynne
  • Yellville-Summit – rate of 100 or more new known infections per 10K residents