Arkansas Judge Strikes Down Ban On School Mask Mandates

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A state law prohibiting schools and other government bodies from requiring face masks was knocked down by an Arkansas court on Wednesday.

In August, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox temporarily stopped the bill. He declared the law unlawful for various reasons on Wednesday, including that it discriminates against children attending public and private schools. The law does not prevent private schools from requiring masks.

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Following Fox’s judgment in August, more than 100 public charter schools and school districts in Arkansas enforced mask mandates. Since then, several have loosened or eliminated their criteria entirely.

In April, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the prohibition into law, however he has subsequently expressed sorrow for his action and stated that he agrees with Fox’s initial judgement.

When Hutchinson suggested repealing the restriction in August, he was met with fierce pushback from other Republicans.

COVID-19 instances have resurfaced in Arkansas, prompting Fox’s decision.

The state recorded more than 3,700 new instances of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with an additional 15 persons hospitalized statewide, for a total of 585 hospitalizations.

According to Hutchinson, the real number of positive cases is higher now that at-home testing is available.