When school restarts in August, students who have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus will no longer be required to quarantine if they have been exposed to the virus.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that the state was altering its policy for school-age children, as well as those in higher education, who have had a COVID-19 exposure. Under this new policy, students can remain in the classroom and continue participating in extracurricular activities.
“They will be able to stay in the classroom. They won’t have to quarantine. They will be able to continue their education even if they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19,” Hutchinson said.
The new policy, according to Hutchinson, is designed to minimize education loss and minimize the disruption to the state’s workforce. “You’ve heard the story so many times of a parent having to go out of the workforce for 10, 14 days because their child is at home because they’ve been quarantined,” he said.
This new policy, he said, abides by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals, which hold that these individuals are not required to quarantine, be tested or be restricted from work in the event of a COVID-19 exposure.
Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Hutchinson advised parents to have their students vaccinated soon, rather than wait for the start of the school year. In mid-May, Arkansas has authorized the usage of the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year olds.
Approximately 10 percent of Arkansas’ school age population has been vaccinated, according to Hutchinson.