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Hutchinson seeks to lift ban on school mask mandates

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ Republican governor is calling lawmakers back to the Capitol to lift the state’s ban on mask requirements in public schools.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday said he’ll call the majority-Republican Legislature into session likely next week to amend a state law that prohibits state and local government entities from requiring face masks.

Arkansas’ coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks because of the Delta variant and the state’s low vaccination rate.

Also at his Thursday press conference, Hutchinson said he reinstated an emergency declaration for the next 60 days because of the virus, two months after he lifted the declaration he issued at the state of the pandemic last year. But the governor stressed on Thursday that he will not impose a statewide mask mandate.

Over 2,800 new cases were reported yesterday — one of the largest days since the pandemic started, but not the highest. Hospitalizations decreased, but the number of hospitalized on ventilators increased.

On the plus side in terms of vaccines: 10,000 more doses were given over the last 24 hours on Thursday.

“There will be no statewide mask mandate imposed by me,” -Gov. Hutchinson

For more COVID-19 information from the Arkansas Department of Health, click here.

For information from local physicians about COVID-19 vaccines, click here.

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