More than 900 students and staff quarantined in Marion School District

MARION, Ark. — The number of COVID positive tests and quarantines continues to rise in Marion, Arkansas as the school system was one of the first to go back to class. Now more than 900 students and staff members are quarantined.

On Friday the Marion School District said 949 staff and students have had to quarantine since classes began last week because of a coronavirus outbreak. The district said 54 students and 11 staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

State law prohibits the school system from issuing a mask mandate.

RELATED: Arkansas judge blocks state from enforcing mask mandate ban

Many are going without a mask, while some are choosing to mask up.

Kennidi Ridgell told FOX13 her son is a 9th grader at Marion High School. She said he’s shared with her what he has seen as far as people wearing masks at the high school.

Outside of the high school from the street FOX13 could see some students wearing masks and others were not.

”No, I don’t think a lot of people are wearing masks, but I think they need to be, but I think that if the state is not allowing them to have any control over it,” Ridgell said. “So I think there is little that the principals can do, that they are doing the best that they can.”

In talking to parents, some told FOX13 they are seeing a lot of people wearing masks in school. In other cases, they said they are not seeing them at all.

One parent we spoke to in Marion didn’t want to go on camera but said her daughter got sent home Thursday after she was exposed to COVID at school and she was at home awaiting test results.

”I think that all kids should wear their masks and parents should make them wear their masks because COVID is going around,” Tori Reed said. “I send my son to school and put a mask on him every day.”

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Tori Reed has a kindergartner and says the state needs to let the school system put a mask requirement in place.

”I feel like they should. If everybody isn’t getting vaccinated why not?” Reed said

FOX13 has reached out to the Superintendent’s office to find out where the lawsuit against the state stands and how they would enforce a mask mandate if allowed. This story will be updated when that response is available.