By Mary Hennigan
Active COVID-19 cases in the Arkansas public school districts declined for the first time since the beginning of the school year, according to the Sept. 9 Arkansas Department of Health report.
A total of 3,804 cases in public schools, down 21% from 4,833 on Sept. 6. The reporting period included a partial school week due to the Labor Day holiday. Health officials were concerned that Labor Day gatherings and major events, such as the season’s first home Razorback football game, could elevate the number of cases, but the impact of gatherings may not yet be seen in reports.
The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, reported 176 active cases in the newest report, down from 247 on Sept. 6. The college had a rate of 6.39 active cases per 1,000 students as of Sept. 9, according to an Arkansascovid.com analysis of the ADH data.
Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, about 70 miles southwest of Little Rock, had the highest active case rate in colleges at 31.23 cases. This tripled the next-highest rate, 10.41, at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff.
For the third consecutive report, Magazine School District, southeast of Fort Smith, reported the highest active case rate in the state with 42.31 cases per 1,000 students. Due to its small population of 520, the 22 total active cases in the district led to a higher rate. The rate, however, has decreased with each report.
Cabot School District reported the highest count of active cases at 130, and its rate was 12.78 cases per 1,000 students.