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Gov. Hutchinson calls special session to amend Arkansas’ mask ban

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:07 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:23 AM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (WMC) - By law, school districts in Arkansas cannot require masks but that could change Wednesday. Governor Asa Hutchinson is calling for a special session to amend the state’s ban on mask mandates.

Lawmakers will hold a special session to discuss Act 10-02.

Speaking Tuesday, the governor said, “In hindsight, I wish that had not become law.”

Hutchinson and minority leader Keith Ingram have said it’s an uphill battle but have faith the right thing will be done.

With COVID-19 cases increasing across Arkansas and with schools back in session we’ve learned more than 400 students are now quarantined in Marion after 18 students and staff tested positive.

Hutchinson called lawmakers back to create an exception to law to give school boards flexibility to require masks for students 12 and under who are not eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The reason for this is because they are required to go to school,” said Hutchinson. “Secondly, we understand the value of in-class instruction. And we want those children to be safe as possible.”

The superintendent for the Marion School District also sent a letter to lawmakers to overturn the ban on masks which was published in the Arkansas Times.

In that letter, he states that if the general assembly is unwilling to establish a state-wide mask mandate communities should have the right to make their own decision.

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