MANILA, Ark. — School officials in the small town of Manila, Arkansas may soon be dealing with a big problem. Manila Public Schools says 99 high school students and staff are currently quarantining after several students tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. Officials say several more cases were confirmed Monday and that prompted the district to move 7th through 12th grade learning online for the rest of the week.
Roger Cox has a son in 7th grade and a daughter in 9th. He’s worried they might get sick but says they are currently healthy.
“It’s not nothing to play with but it can be serious,” Cox said.
Given the situation, Cox believes the elementary school should completely switch to online learning for the rest of this week as well. He says Manila is a small community and if high school students have the virus there’s a good chance younger students do too.
“We got young ones here that’s around the older ones and sports and they go to the bathroom and you don’t know where they’ve been,” he said.
That’s why Cox is also keeping his 9-year-old son home.
“I’m going to the school tomorrow to talk with them and get his work for the rest of the week,” Cox said.
Manila Public Schools Superintendent Jason Evers declined to talk with WREG on camera but did release a statement saying the high school campus will be deep cleaned. He also said officials will re-evaluate the situation on Thursday and decide if students can safely return to campus next week.
Cox says students across the district have always had the option to learn online this year and after this, he says he’s keeping all his kids home for the foreseeable future.
“We just don’t know who’s got it and what’s going to happen,” Cox said.
Cox says the high school is providing breakfast and lunch every day. He says the meals are available for parents to pick up.
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