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Students and school workers within the Fort Smith Public School system no longer required to wear face masks or face coverings

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Fort Smith, Arkansas – All the students and the school workers withing the Fort Smith Public School system are no longer mandated to wear face masks and face coverings when attending schools.

The mandate was dropped following the Fort Smith School Board voting on Monday after the board members decided to end the mask mandate in a four to three voting.

Members voting to drop the mandate were Matt Blaylock, Troy Ecklehoff, Susan McFerran, and Dalton Person. Voting to retain the mandate were Dee Blackwell, Yvonne Keaton-Martin, and Talicia Richardson.

The mask mandate was initially enforced after the board scheduled special meeting on August 9 and decided to enforce mask mandate for the next 60 days. The mandate required all teachers, school workers and students to wear face masks or face coverings in school buildings or vehicles when more than two people are present.

According to the results of the survey that was conducted in the last two weeks, nearly 39% of the school workers and teachers said that they wanted the mask requirement to be ended as soon as possible. The results of the survey were revealed by the FSPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Morawski on the Monday’s meeting.

The remaining percentage of respondents were split with 27.4% supporting making masks optional once the district’s positivity rate is at yellow (29 or less cases per 10,000 residents over 14 days) as reported by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) data. The other 34% supported continuing the mask requirement.

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