As more record numbers of single-day COVID-19 cases were reported in the state this week some changes were announced within the Greene County Tech and Paragould School Districts.

On Tuesday the GCT School District announced that it was returning to the use of face coverings for students and staff on Tuesday.

“The recent rise in close contacts and positive COVID-19 cases has caused the Greene County Tech School District to reach the 7 percent quarantine/positive threshold,” the school district posted on social media. “The face covering policy of the Communicable Disease – COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan will be followed until the end of the day on January 20. If the quarantine cases drop below 7 percent, the face covering policy will be removed. The district’s goal is to keep everyone safe and attending classes.”

On Thursday the Paragould School District announced face coverings would be required beginning Friday, due to the number of students currently in quarantine.

The face coverings are required as outlined in the district Communicable Disease Exposure Control Plan.

“We must remain vigilant,” Paragould Schools Superintendent Nick Jankoviak said in a prepared statement. “The district will continue to focus on mitigating strategies that have helped us reduce the spread of COVID-19. A variety of measures will remain in place to ensure the safest learning environment possible. The Paragould School District is fully committed to the health and safety of all students, staff and visitors. We are proud of the actions that were taken to ensure a safe start to the school year and encourage everyone to continue to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19.”

The Arkansas Department of Health reported new COVID-19 cases on Thursday totaled 12,990.

Craighead and Greene counties saw the largest jumps in cases locally, with 545 new cases reported in Craighead County and 468 added in Greene County.

The active case count in Craighead County rose to 4,203, and statewide the number of active cases increased by 8,214 to reach 79,346. No deaths were reported locally, but the statewide death toll rose by 18 to 9,390.

According to the ADH, 1,251 COVID patients were hospitalized, up 66 from Wednesday, and of those, 170 were on ventilators. In Northeast Arkansas, 205 patients were reported as COVID-positive with 17 on ventilators.

The active case count for Greene County rose to 1,221. Mississippi County reported 227 new cases and 1,202 active cases, while Poinsett County recorded 106 new infections and 767 active cases.

Elsewhere in Northeast Arkansas, Cross County reported 89 new cases and 493 active cases; Lawrence County, 44 new cases and 279 active cases; Clay County, 34 new cases and 235 active cases; Jackson County, 29 new cases and 257 active cases; and Randolph County, 23 new cases and 260 active cases.

Paxton News Bureau Regional Editor Gretchen Hunt contributed to this article.

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