In guidelines issued Tuesday, the governor's office, Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Department of Health recommend that unvaccinated students, faculty and staff wear masks indoors for the upcoming school year.
- Individuals exposed to COVID-19 will need to quarantine for 10 days, or seven days with a negative test.
- Vaccinated individuals exposed to COVID-19 will not need to quarantine unless they have symptoms.
Flashback: All schools had to require masks for most of the past school year because of the state's mask mandate, which ended March 31. The state legislature subsequently passed a law banning mask mandates.
State of play: In an open letter Tuesday, more than 500 Arkansas physicians, nurses and other health care workers called on Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the legislature to reconvene to re-evaluate Act 1002, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Between the lines: Coronavirus vaccines are only approved for kids 12 and older, so the new guidelines essentially mean that all younger students should be wearing masks this fall.
- It's unclear how many 12 to 18-year-olds across the state are vaccinated.
The bottom line: These are guidelines, not requirements. And, there's little way to ensure the unvaccinated mask up.
- Go deeper: Read the full guidance here.
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