Future for mask policy at the U of A


Overlook of the town of Fayetteville, Arkansas with the University of Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – School districts across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley are choosing to revisit their mask mandates. 

Last night the Fort Smith School District voted to do away with its mask requirement. At the U of A’s State of the University Address, it was a topic brought up to the interim chancellor.

Even with declining COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalization, the Interim chancellor says the university has no intention of changing its COVID-19 policies anytime soon.

“Right now, I think we need to just stay where we are,” says Dr. Charles Robinson, interim chancellor for the University of Arkansas.

Robinson says their COVID-19 safety guidelines, and how they should evolve is a daily conversation. 

Currently, masks are required indoors, regardless of vaccination status, when at least 6-feet of social distancing can’t be maintained.

A policy the Arkansas Department of Health believes is best for the health of the student body and the Northwest Arkansas community.

“Masks work a lot better as a preventative than they do as an intervention. However, they will work as an intervention if things are terrible,” says Dr. Joel Tumlison, Physician in outbreak response with the ADH. 

Robinson says it is a policy he’d be willing to revisit under the right conditions.

“I think we need to see some consistent significant change that is a downward trend then we will adjust to some extent,” says Robinson.

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