FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The natural state reports another day of thousands of new COVID-19 cases and the Department of Education releases new COVID-19 guidance for the upcoming school year, meanwhile Governor Asa Hutchinson is reconsidering a law that bans state and local mask requirements.
“The time for talk is over,” said State Senator Jim Hendren (I-2). “The Governor needs to issue a call and the legislature needs to get down and do our job.”
The possible decision to hold a special session is supported by some lawmakers like State Senator Jim Hendren and State Representative Nicole Clowney (D-86).
“I think that we owe it to our students and to our teachers and to our staff to allow local decision makers to decide what’s best for their communities,” Clowney said.
State Senator Trent Garner (R-27) sponsored the bill. He was not available for interview but provided a statement.
I completely disagree with calling a special session. The best solution is letting the people have the freedom of choice, not forcing another big government mandate that is destined to fail.”STATE SENATOR TRENT GARNER (R-27)
“I understand that the legislature likes to have control of things but I think the fallout from this is potentially devastating,” Hendren said.
As the state and local mask mandate ban remains up in the air until further notice, the Department of Education released new COVID-19 guidance for schools outside of a mask mandate. The guidance updates quarantine rules.
Now, students who have been exposed to COVID-19 will not need to quarantine if they do not have symptoms as long as both the infected and the exposed have been wearing masks properly.
The department also urges schools to follow the latest CDC recommendations on masking.
Finally, schools are encouraged to get as many students 12 and up vaccinated as possible.
For more information on the guidance, click here.