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Children in Arkansas might soon be mandated to wear face masks while in school again, the rule will apply for teachers too



Arkansas – With the rising number of Covid-19 cases recently in Arkansas, students, teachers and school staff might be mandated to wear face masks in schools once again soon.

At least that’s what the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ARAAP) is asking the state health officials to consider in an effort to keep children as safe as possible since many of them are not eligible for vaccines, while the vaccination rate in those eligible for vaccines seems pretty low.

According to them, they ask state officials to implement mask mandate in schools for everyone, including teacher, school staff and children aged 2 and more.

In their statement, Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics added that the number of children hospitalized across the country as a result of the Covid-19 is on the rise regardless of the fact that they usually don’t develop serious conditions.

They also announced a recent data showing that 12% of Arkansas children ages 5-11 and 51% of youth ages 12-17 have at least 1 COVID-19 vaccine, but too many remain unprotected.

“We know schools have been doing a remarkable job at controlling the spread of COVID-19 while keeping kids in school where they belong. As students come back during the Omicron surge, we need to see the successful strategies that worked last year reinstated, as some schools relaxed these policies in the fall. Measures like school-wide mask requirements and encouraging vaccination will help keep kids in the classroom, where they can learn, play, and grow,” Dr. Susan Averitt, President of the ARAAP said.

Although the Covid-19 vaccines are working against developing severe condition and preventing death, Omicron easily evades the vaccine protection and even those with three doses of the vaccines are easily getting infected. That’s why the Academy asks everyone to wear masks in schools regardless of their vaccination status and age.

Furthermore, the Academy shared a data with the public showing that schools with previous mask mandates had 20% less Covid-19 cases compared to schools with no mask mandate in place.

School leaders have clear authority to implement school-wide mask policies after Act 1002 of 2021 was ruled unconstitutional last week by Circuit Judge Tim Fox. The law prohibited schools and public entities from implementing universal mask policies, but it was put on hold in August.