Schools still deciding on mask requirements after state mandate is lifted


FARMINGTON, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — More school districts are deciding what to do about mask mandates after Governor Asa Hutchinson lifted the state mandate at the end of March.

Many school districts have decided to lift or keep their mask mandate, but some — such as the Farmington School District — are still deciding.

“I really think we need to keep the masks just a little bit longer,” said Farmington teacher Charice Handford. “We’re so close to having that herd immunity.”

Handford is a cancer survivor who said all year she feared getting the virus in the classroom due to underlying health conditions. Now, she is fully vaccinated but said she still feels strongly about keeping the mask mandate.

“I know they’ve opened up the vaccinations to 16 and older which is awesome, but the students I teach are not eligible,” she said. “They’re too young.”

Farmington Superintendent Jon Laffoon said not everyone is on the same page.

“We surveyed our staff before spring break- all of our staff- and it was one of those deals where it was split.”

Laffoon said the decision to keep the mask requirement depends on the school’s ‘Ready for Learning’ Committee made up of parents and school faculty. He said the committee has been following guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health since the pandemic began.

While some teachers, like Handford, wait in hopes for the school to keep the mask mandate.

Laffoon said the Ready for Learning Committee will meet on April 19th to decide whether or not to keep this mask mandate. He encourages people who are a part of this district to provide your input online to help them make this decision.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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