With one school district in White County coming off virtual learning only today, two others have pivoted to it because of COVID-19 numbers, with the number of quarantined students, faculty and staff countywide totaling more than 1,000.

The Beebe School District started online-only classes Wednesday and is expected to resume on-campus classes after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We hated to go that route but we just felt like for safety, the Department of Ed contacted us and said, ‘It’s probably time to go ahead and pivot’ so that’s what we did,” Beebe Superintendent Dr. Chris Nail.

As of Wednesday, Beebe had 20 active student cases or .06 percent of the 3,293 district enrollment. Concerning quarantined students, Beebe has 269 students or 8.1 percent of its total enrollment in that category. There are nine active staff cases and 25 quarantined staff members.

Riverview Superintendent Stan Stratton said Wednesday that his school district has a total of six students and staff with positive cases and 131 students and staff are in quarantine.

“The last week and a half we have seen our numbers increase,” Stratton said.

Rose Bud Superintendent Allen Blackwell said as of Tuesday that his school district had six positive students and one positive staff member. He said 43 students and two staff members are in quarantine.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health’s latest COVID-19 educational report, released Monday, Searcy had 19 active student cases. Both the high school and junior high have pivoted online until after the Thanksgiving holiday, to be followed by Southwest Middle School, and the district has canceled all of its basketball games until then as well (as has Rose Bud and Beebe)

“Our basketball team is quarantined at the moment,” Searcy School and Community Coordinator Betsy Bailey said. “They have not be able to play. Some of them will be back after Thanksgiving.”

Searcy Superintendent Diane Barrett said at Wednesday’s School Board meeting at Southwest Middle School that a notice was sent out that because of an increased number of COVID cases and the increased number of quarantined that Ahlf Junior High School and Searcy High School would be pivoting today to remote learning and that will continue through Monday and Tuesday next week before the district breaks for the holiday.

“Southwest Middle School, which has been particularly hard hit, we are going to do a flex day tomorrow [Thursday],” Barrett said. “Those that need to may send their students to school; we want to give them a little bit of time to make arrangements for child care if necessary. Starting Friday, Monday and Tuesday, they will be all virtual; they will be learning remotely.

“Our elementary schools have not been quite as hard hit. We have had some staffing issues, but not to the extent that we have had at middle school and some of the upper buildings. Elementary schools will be on site today [Thursday] and starting Friday, Monday and Tuesday, we will have flex days. If they need to, the students may come or they may learn remotely. Nov. 30 we will start back normally.”

After the meeting Barrett told The Daily Citizen that districtwide 400 students and 25 staff are quarantined or active positives. This week’s educational report lists Searcy with 19 active students

At Harding Academy, Superintendent James Simmons said as of Wednesday, his school district had three positive students and 13 total in quarantine, 4 teachers and 9 students.

“We are still encouraging our students and faculty to be as safe and healthy as we possibly can. Still wearing masks, physical distancing, extra cleaning and hand sanitizing,” Simmons said. “We also are trying our best to increase our awareness of the impact of COVID-19 on our students and faculty’s mental health.”

The latest numbers available from the Bradford School District show 3 active cases, 8 staff in isolation or quarantine and 77 students in isolation or quarantine.

White County Central, according to the latest report from the Arkansas Department of Health. has 31 active student cases. The district has been on on-campus closure since Nov. 9 ,but students on site will resume in-person classes today.

Bald Knob, according to Superintendent Melissa Gipson, has 6 active cases (staff and students), 57 quarantined students and 8 quarantined staff, although six will be returning this week.

Pangburn School Superintendent David Rolland said Wednesday, his school district has 8 positive cases, 6 students and 2 staff. He also said Pangburn has 23 students and five staff in quarantine.

Harding University has 80 active student cases listed on the Arkansas Department of Health’s report. Arkansas State University-Beebe has five active student cases on that same report.

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