COVID-19

The USDA has issued a waiver allowing schools to serve free meals to all children, not just students, through Dec. 31 or until funding runs out. Fayetteville Public Schools is one district that has opted in to the program. From the closure of schools in March to the beginning of August, the district has served more than 165,000 meals on 109 serving days.

At this week's coronavirus response briefing, Governor Asa Hutchinson offered strategies for battling the spread of COVID-19 during the winter months and encouraged Arkansans to get a flu shot. There were also updates about the state of the economy, prison system and education during the pandemic. To watch the full briefing, click here.

Courtesy / Dan Sullivan

In early September, 18 Arkansas lawmakers and seven citizens filed a lawsuit against Arkansas Secretary of Health Jose Romero to take control of the COVID-19 public health emergency the governor declared in March. The declaration, which has been extended through the end of the year, resulted in a list of protective directives and mandates issued by the governor in collaboration with the Department of Health.

Courtesy / Stephanie Jones

This fall semester, more parents with children enrolled in public schools are placing their kids into virtual small-group education pods, private off-campus classrooms facilitated by qualified instructors. Such learning pods for now remain unregulated by districts and the state.

Although the 20th annual Bikes, Blues and BBQ rally was cancelled back in June due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses in the region are hosting their own events for motorcycle enthusiasts who are coming to the area despite not having an official rally to go to.

This is the first week where Governor Asa Hutchinson started providing weekly and as-needed briefings on the state's coronavirus response instead of doing daily briefings as he's done throughout the pandemic. In Tuesday's briefing, the Arkansas Department of Health announced 17 additional deaths from COVID-19 bringing the state's total to 1,003. The agency has also started tracking probable coronavirus deaths, which stand at 139 since the start of the pandemic. The new category is based on CDC guidelines.

Courtesy / Legal Aid of Arkansas

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent could help some tenants stay in their homes, but many either don't know about it or don't know how to take advantage of it. The moratorium is not automatic and tenants who are facing evictions have to sign a form that needs to be submitted to their landlord.

Courtesy / Albious Latior

Hundreds of renters across Arkansas are facing eviction for nonpayment of rent in August. In part one of our two-part report, we speak with tenants and their advocates about what it's been like to lose income because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes it difficult to pay rent on time. And in part two, we get reaction from landlords to the CDC's recently issued eviction moratorium.

J. Froelich / KUAF

Mt. Sequoyah Center in Fayetteville is providing isolation quarters to a small number of University of Arkansas students who’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Founded a century ago as a church retreat, the historic center now operates as a creative, educational and recreational place for the community — and during the pandemic as a secure quarantine space.

The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting a new single-day record for additional cases of coronavirus. At today's briefing, which Governor Asa Hutchinson delivered from Mena, he announced 1,107 new cases of COVID-19 out of just more than 7,800 test results in the last 24-hour monitoring period. The governor said he's not pleased with the high number, but also isn't surprised. Ten counties reported at least 20 new cases, including 105 in Pulaski County. Washington County, which is home to the University of Arkansas, reported 91.

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