FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fort Smith Public School Board of Education decided to reinstate its mask mandate for students and staff on January 10.
According to a news release from Fort Smith Public Schools, the board voted 4-2 to reinstate the mandate for 30 days or until the district falls below 50 cases per 10,000 community cases in 14 days as determined by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.
Martin Mahan is the district’s deputy superintendent. He says as of January 11, just under 200 students and staff have the virus.
Mahan says masks will be provided at the school, and it’ll work with families who have medical exemptions.
“If their reason is the student just doesn’t want to have a mask on, we also have a virtual option that we’ll look at on a case-by-case basis with parents and students to enroll them in a virtual setting,” Mahan said.
The masking requirement includes staff, students, and visitors in all school buildings, buses, and property of the time specified.
The board’s resolution gives the superintendent the authority to end the mask requirement when the infection rate falls below 50 cases per 10,000 or into the range designated by the color orange on ACHI’s map of school districts with COVID-19.