Gov. Hutchinson urges eligible teachers, staff to get vaccinated to protect ineligible students


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Students- most whom are ineligible to get vaccinated- are getting ready to head back into the classroom next month.

Most Arkansas students will be back to school in mid-August, but with the Delta variant spreading rapidly across the state and most school-aged kids ineligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Hutchinson said the responsibility to protect them is on those who can get the shots.

Louise Cole has two children who are not yet eligible for the vaccines. She said she is concerned for their safety this upcoming school year, especially considering their classmates may not be wearing masks.

Back in April, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed legislation to ban state or local mask mandates.

Cole said she does not see her daughter staying safe inside the class without a mask mandate.

“If she’s the only one who’s masked and she’s in a classroom full of kids, that does not really diminish her ability from getting sick as much as if everybody were masked up,” she said.

Governor Hutchinson addressed parents concerns about this in Tuesday’s press conference.

“Parents do raise the question, ‘Well, how about since the legislature passed a law- which I signed-that said schools cannot mandate mask wearing in the schools, how about those that cannot be vaccinated?'” he asked. “We need to build a cocoon around them.”

That cocoon will be made by getting people around those kids vaccinated.

But, with the Delta variant posting a threat to her ineligible kids, Cole said that is not enough.

“I’m really not relying on other people to get their shots,” she said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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