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Ark. law prohibiting mask mandates under fire; school district says cases are down

“In hindsight, I wish that wasn’t the law,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.
ACT 1002 prohibits schools from issuing mask mandates to staff and students. A circuit judge...
ACT 1002 prohibits schools from issuing mask mandates to staff and students. A circuit judge issued a temporary injunction of the law in August enforcing it. On Thursday, Sept. 30, the Arkansas State Court denied the state’s request to remove the temporary injunction.(Live 5)
Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 2:16 PM CDT
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DEQUEEN, Ark. (KSLA) - Many school districts across America are making adjustments as the year progresses due to the COVID-19 Delta variant. However, in Arkansas, the courts are now involved in the COVID battle.

In August, with the start of the school year, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressed concerns over ACT 1002 passed by the state legislature.

“In hindsight, I wish that wasn’t the law,” Hutchinson said. “But it is the law and the only chance we have to amend it and the court to say it has an unconstitutional foundation.”

The law prohibits schools from issuing mask mandates to staff and students. A circuit judge issued a temporary injunction of the law in August enforcing it.

On Thursday, Sept. 30, the Arkansas State Court denied the state’s request to remove the temporary injunction.

“We decided to start school and see what our numbers are once we got students on campus,” said Superintendent of DeQueen Schools Jason Sanders.

Sanders says they do not have a mask mandate and that positive COVID-19 rate have progressively gone down in his district. He then added that the Arkansas Supreme Court Ruling should not effect DeQueen Schools.

“We are doing really well,” he said. “We are actually going the opposite way with our cases. Like everyone (in) quarantine has been a disruption, but the vast majority of our quarantines are coming from outside the school environment.”

The ultimate fate of ACT 1002 could be determined by a lower Arkansas court in November of this year. Until then, Sanders said they will continue with their current COVID-19 protocol.

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