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Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Photo: Liz Sanders/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An Arkansas judge on Friday temporarily blocked the state from enforcing its ban on mask mandates, AP reports.

Driving the news: Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox issued a preliminary injunction against a law signed in April by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson that banned governmental entities from implementing mask mandates.

  • Fox ruled against the measure on multiple grounds, including that it discriminated between public and private schools, per AP.

Driving the news: Fox's decision came hours after the state legislature upheld the state's mask mandate ban during a special session called by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

  • Hutchinson sought to amend the law amid rising cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas, especially among children 12 and under who can't get vaccinated. The Republican said this week that he regrets signing the ban into law.
  • "The local school districts should make the call and they should have more options to make sure that their school is a safe environment during a very challenging time for education," Hutchinson said.
  • An Arkansas House panel rejected two measures to allow for some school districts to issue mask requirements, per AP. Critics of lifting the ban testified before the legislature, often citing false claims about the virus.

The big picture: Calls for rolling back the mask ban in Arkansas are mounting, especially after more than 800 students and faculty have quarantined in a school district in east Arkansas because of a COVID-19 outbreak, per AP.

What they're saying: "I think we’re going to come to really regret not taking action,” Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram, the chamber’s minority leader, said. "I just hope the consequences aren’t fatal for children or staff or teachers in this state."

Go deeper: Arkansas governor says he regrets banning mask mandates

Go deeper

Appeals court denies DOJ's request to suspend Texas abortion ban

People protesting Texas' abortion ban outside of the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Oct. 2. Photo: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

A three-judge panel for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday denied the Department of Justice's emergency request to suspend Texas' abortion ban, which bars the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, or roughly six weeks — before many people know they are pregnant.

Why it matters: The ruling allows the ban to continue to be enforced as the courts consider the law's constitutionality. It's one of the most restrictive bans to be enforced since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

COVID's impact on Ohio education

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Ohio's K-12 school report cards were released Thursday, shining a spotlight on pandemic-related challenges that include spiking absenteeism and a significant drop in statewide test scores.

Why it matters: The state's annual reports provide families and taxpayers a snapshot of their district's academic achievement, spending and demographic data, while also shaping instructional decisions.

Poll shows eroding school satisfaction

Note: Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number; Data: Nashville Public Education Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Nashville Public Education Foundation released on Thursday a new poll showing deepening dissatisfaction with public schools during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Nearly half of the 500 voters polled in September said they thought Metro Nashville Public Schools had gotten worse over the last five years.