Judge says Arkansas can't enforce mask mandate ban
Context: Multiple lawsuits were filed challenging the ban.
- In a special session this week, the legislature voted down bills that would have allowed school districts to require masks in places with students under 12, who cannot get vaccinated against COVID-19.
What it means: Public schools — including any grade level and universities — can now require students, staff and faculty to wear masks.
- And Little Rock's recent reinstatement of a mask mandate in public spaces is here to stay, for now.
Why it matters: The Delta variant and the state's low vaccination rate (42% of Arkansans 12 and up are fully vaccinated) have caused another public health emergency. Hospitals are back to seeing peak numbers.
- And more kids are getting sick, with some in the ICU and on ventilators. Three Arkansas children have died since December.
Yes, but: This is a preliminary injunction. The legal battle is not over.
What's next: It's up to local school boards and other public governing bodies to decide if they will implement mask mandates while the lawsuits make their way through the courts.
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