FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Fort Smith School Board voted October 11 to remove its mask mandate.
The school board voted 4-3 to remove the mandate for students, staff, and visitors effective immediately, according to a post on Fort Smith Public School’s Facebook page.
The post says the action comes after a significant and steady decline in the number of COVID-19 positive cases reported by the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education and recorded by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and the Arkansas Department of Health.
Although masks are no longer required, they continue to be recommended and encouraged, according to the school district.
The district says it will continue to observe all other safety protocols including extensive disinfection of all classrooms, district building, and touch points in the upcoming weeks.
On September 27, the school board failed to pass a resolution to let the mask mandate expire.
A separate resolution was originally proposed to extend the mask mandate for 30 days starting October 8 which is when the first mandate was set to expire.
The school board originally planned to revisit the mask mandate at its next meeting on October 25, however a special meeting was held October 11 to make a decision on the mandate.