LITTLE ROCK Twenty-six Arkansas school districts, including several in the River Valley, have had 50 or more new known COVID-19 infections per 10,000 district residents over a 14-day period, up from 13 a week earlier, the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement said Thursday.


Paris, Ozark and County Line schools are noted in the latest report as having entered the "red zone" this week.


The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement identified school districts in the "red zone" for infections by analyzing data received Monday from the Arkansas Department of Health. The infections are among all people living within the geographical boundaries of the school districts and are not specific to school employees and students. Known infections include confirmed cases and probable cases based on verbal reporting and antigen test results, as identified by the Department of Health.


"The doubling of the number of school districts in the red zone in one week is a cause for concern," ACHI President and CEO Dr. Joe Thompson said in a news release Thursday. "Most of the districts entering the red zone this week are in rural areas, which shows that COVID-19 is affecting all parts of the state. Residents of these districts should be especially careful to take precautions against further spread: Maintain six feet of distance from people who are not members of your household and wear a mask when out in public."


Rates of new known infections in school districts across the state, as well as counts of cumulative and new infections, are tracked on ACHI’s "COVID-19 in Arkansas" web page at achi.net/covid19. Rates and counts are not shown for districts with fewer than five infections, to reduce the possibility of identifying individuals.


The following 26 school districts had a rate of at least 50 new known infections per 10,000 district residents, or 0.5% of the population, for the period of Sept. 28 through Oct. 12.


An asterisk denotes a district that entered the red zone this week.


Armorel School District*


Barton-Lexa School District


Berryville Public Schools


Brookland School District*


Cedar Ridge School District


Clarendon School District


Corning Public Schools*


County Line School District*


Deer/Mount Judea School District*


DeWitt School District*


Green Forest School District*


Hoxie School District


Jackson County School District


Lawrence County School District


Mammoth Spring Schools


Marked Tree School District*


Mulberry School District


Nettleton School District*


Newport School District*


Ozark School District*


Paris School District*


Sloan-Hendrix School District*


Spring Hill School District


Stuttgart School District*


Viola School District


Westside Consolidated School District*


Two districts that were in the red zone a week earlier, England and Magnolia, have dropped below that level in this week’s data.


ACHI is a nonpartisan, independent health policy center that serves as a catalyst for improving the health of all Arkansans through evidence-based research, public issue advocacy and collaborative program development.