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LIST: Which Arkansas school districts will require masks for the 2021-2022 school year?

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | August 11, 2021 at 12:39 p.m. | Updated September 17, 2021 at 5:09 p.m.
An illustration of two masks. (AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin)

After an Arkansas judge temporarily blocked the state from enforcing its ban on mask mandates, some school districts have voted to require masks on campus. Read on for a list of districts that are or are not requiring masks. To add your school to the list, email webreleases@arkansasonline.com.

Most university students around the state have been directed to wear face coverings in classrooms and indoor shared spaces.

Masks required:

​​Academics Plus Charter Schools, Inc.: An update posted on their website states: “Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are required to properly wear cloth facial coverings over the nose and mouth while in any APCSI building where 6 feet of social distancing cannot be assured and on any school bus. Students do not decide when it is appropriate to remove face coverings. They must have permission from the adult in charge before removing the face covering when inside an APCSI building.”

Alpena: Adults and students age 3 and up are required to wear face coverings when physical distancing cannot be achieved particularly on school buses, the district stated on its website. Students under 3 years of age and those with health issues and special needs will not be asked to wear face coverings.

Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts in Hot Springs: A campus-wide mask mandate will be in effect immediately.

Bald Knob: The district posted on its Facebook page that “the Bald Knob School Board voted unanimously to approve the requirement of face masks for all PK-12 students, faculty, and visitors. Additionally, it is recommended to wear a face mask in an outdoor setting based upon social distancing.”

Barton: All students in kindergarten through the 12th grade, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask or face covering (a) while attending school or a school function in any school building, facility or other area of a school campus, and (b) when riding in school-provided transportation, the district posted to its website.

Batesville: The Batesville School District voted to require masks indoors for the 2021-2022 school year when Independence County has a red risk level, the district stated.

Beebe: Effective Aug. 16, 2021, masks are required indoors for all people 2 years and older who are present on Beebe school campuses or in school vehicles or buses through Sept. 20, 2021, the district announced on its website.

Bentonville: Masks will be required for students ages 3 and older, the district decided, despite public protest.

Berryville: Staff and students must wear appropriate face coverings while in school. Those with a medical issue that prevents the use of face coverings will need to provide documentation from your healthcare provider, according to the district website.

Booneville: Masks will be mandated through Labor Day, the district posted on its Facebook page.

Bradford: “We will begin the year with K-12 students and staff wearing masks,” the district announced on its Facebook page.

Brinkley: The board of directors voted to reinstate the indoor mask mandate for students and staff, the district stated on its Facebook page.

Bryant: All students, employees, and visitors will be required to wear a face covering (which covers the nose and mouth) while present on a school bus or in a school district building. The policy is in effect for up to 30 school days, the district announced on its Facebook page.

Cabot: A 30-day mask mandate was put into effect starting Monday, Aug. 16th, according to the district’s website.

Camden-Fairview: The district announced on its website that masks will be required while in school buildings, but not when outside.

Clarendon: All students beginning with age 2 and staff are required to wear masks while indoors at all times, and while at all school sponsored events where social distancing is not an option. This includes school buses and other school vehicles, the district said.

Conway: According to the district website, the school board has approved a mask mandate for all students and staff during the school day and on buses. The mandate is effective immediately, and can be adjusted based on the CDC’s community transmission status for covid. The district's status is currently "RED" (Masks required for all students and staff) and will be updated weekly by Sunday at 5:00 pm. If there is a status change, we will also send a message to parents, according to a district spokesperson.

Additional information is available at conwayschools.org/Page/954

Crossett: The district will require students kindergarten through 12th grades, staff, and visitors to wear a mask while indoors when physical distancing (6 feet or greater) cannot be established and maintained. This policy will be reviewed regularly to consider current covid numbers and possible modifications to the policy.

Dewitt: Face coverings will be required for students in grades K-12 when indoors and when social distancing cannot be maintained, the district stated on its website. The district will also continue to implement multiple layers of mitigation strategies including social distancing, reduced class sizes, disinfecting and hand washing.

El Dorado: The El Dorado School Board has voted 4-3 to require masks, or other appropriate face coverings, for all persons present on school campuses or in school vehicles or buses, including staff, students, visitors and others. This applies to inside only.

The school board will revisit the policy at each board meeting.

To view the full mask policy, visit www.eldoradopublicschools.org/page/esd-mask-policy.

England: The district will require all students and adults to wear masks for the 2021-2022 school year.

eStem: Effective Monday, Aug. 9, face coverings/masks will be required for all people (students, staff and visitors) while they are inside school buildings, the schools announced on its website.

Episcopal Collegiate School: Masks will be required on campus.

Eureka Springs: A mask mandate is in place for students and teachers. The district will split up the first day of school: 9th and 11th graders will return on Aug. 16 and 10th and 12th graders will return on Aug. 17, which will allow the teachers to have a “soft opening” and get procedures in place for the new school year. The district will continue daily screenings at the door.

Farmington: The district will require masks indoors and when social distancing is not possible for all persons who are present on school campuses or in school vehicles or buses, school officials announced on their website. The requirement will be revisited at each meeting.

Fayetteville: All K-12 students, staff members, and visitors to school buildings will be required to wear masks. Masks are required while attending classes, working or attending a school function in any school building, indoor facility, or other indoor areas of a school campus; and when driving or riding in school-provided transportation. The policy will remain in effect until further action taken by the school board.

Forrest City: The Forrest City School Board unanimously voted on Aug. 10 to enact a mask mandate for all students, staff, and visitors, the district announced on its Facebook page. The mandate also allows the superintendent to rescind or reenact the mask mandate for the remainder of the upcoming school year.

Fort Smith: The board approved a 60-day mask requirement at its Aug. 9 meeting. The mandate does not require students or staff to wear masks while outside, eating, or during personal circumstances.

Harmony Grove: On Aug. 26, the Harmony Grove School Board voted unanimously to require all students, employees, and visitors to wear a face covering while present on a school bus or in a school district building, according to the district website.

Helena West-Helena: Masks will be required until further notice, the district stated on its website.

Hope: Masks will be required for those in schools, on buses, or other campus buildings, the district announced.

Hot Springs: Masks will be required through Sept. 21, the district announced on its website.

Jacksonville/North Pulaski: Masks will be required for all students and staff while indoors and on school buses.

Jonesboro: Masks will be required until the end of the school year, the district announced. The board is allowed to review the mandate every 30 days or at each regularly scheduled school board meeting.

Lake Hamilton: In a statement on the district website, the district announced all students, employees and visitors entering schools and indoor facilities within the Lake Hamilton School District must wear an appropriate face covering. All passengers and drivers on district school buses must wear an appropriate face covering.

The school board will review covid-19 case counts and related data monthly. The mask policy will expire on Dec. 17, 2021, or sooner, if the board moves to repeal it, or a court acts to reverse the temporary injunction or uphold Act 1002 of 2021.

Lakeside: “All students, employees, and visitors shall be required to wear a face-covering (which covers the nose and mouth) while present on a school bus or in a school district building,” the district announced in an emergency resolution.

LISA Academy: Masks will be required on all campuses, the schools announced.

Little Rock: The Little Rock School Board that sued the state for the right to require students and employees to wear masks followed through Aug. 12 with an 8-0 vote for the masks to be worn inside school buildings and at indoor school functions.

Magnolia: According to the district website, the district policy states that if the covid-19 positive test rate for Columbia County exceeds 8%, “then masks will be worn by all school district employees, students, and visitors while inside any school district building, bus, van, or other vehicles.”

As of Aug. 10, the Columbia County positivity rate according to the Arkansas Department of Health was 10.7%.

Marion: The district will implement a mask policy for all students and staff beginning Aug. 11.

Mountain View: Until the September School Board meeting, where this issue will be re-evaluated, all students in kindergarten through 12th grade, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask or face covering (a) while attending school or a school function in any school building, facility or other area of a school campus, and (b) when riding in school provided transportation, the district stated on its website.

North Little Rock: Masks will be required for students and staff, the school board decided Aug. 11. The resolution requires masking at school, at school functions and on school transportation, stating that masks "are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult.”

Osceola: Students and staff will be required to wear masks, according to the district’s website

Perryville: Masks will be required, the district announced on its website.

Pine Bluff: A face covering must be worn on district property and on buses, the district said on its Facebook page. The decision will be re-evaluated in September

Prairie Grove: The board voted to require students and staff to wear masks in school and on any school transportation. The issue will be revisited at each board meeting.

Pulaski County Special School District: The board unanimously approved the motion that masks be required for all students, staff and guests. After 60 days the mandate will be revisited, the district said in a statement on its website.

Rogers: The school board approved a 30-day mask mandate.

Russellville: A 30-day mask requirement was implemented for students and staff, starting Aug. 16.

Searcy: The district will require that all students, staff, and visitors to Searcy Schools while indoors on our campuses, buildings, and buses wear a face covering/mask that will cover the nose and mouth of the wearer. This requirement will remain in effect until the Governor’s health emergency declaration ceases, according to the district website.

South Conway: Face coverings will be required for all students when physical distancing of 6 feet cannot be achieved.

Springdale: The Springdale School Board voted to end the mask mandate after a temporary mask requirement was set in place in August.

Stuttgart: The district will require masks for K-12 students and staff. The mandate will be reviewed monthly, or as needed based on state recommendations, the district noted.

Strong/Huttig: Masks will be worn in all schools and on transportation, the district announced on its Facebook.

Texarkana: The school district will require students, staff, and visitors to wear face coverings when indoors, the district announced in a statement.

Two Rivers: The Two Rivers School Board of Education voted unanimously to enact a mask mandate for all students, staff, and visitors while indoors and on the bus. Masks will not be required outdoors or while actively participating in athletics, eating/drinking, or band. The mandate will be re-evaluated by district leadership and the Two Rivers Board of Education at each board meeting.

Valley View: A mask mandate will be in place, according to a plan released Aug. 11 by the district. The mask policy will be enforced when students and staff are present on campus or at school-sponsored events, the district said. A mandate will be in place for all students (PreK-12) and staff if the level of transmission is identified as substantial (orange) or high (red) for Craighead County. If the level of transmission is identified as moderate (yellow) or low (blue) for Craighead County for 14 consecutive days, the mask mandate will transition to a strong recommendation that masks be worn when students (PreK-12) and staff are in crowded settings and when physical distancing is not possible.

Craighead County is currently classified in the red high transmission level, according to the plan.

Warren: A mask mandate will be in place while in school buildings and on busses.

West Memphis: The mask mandate will be in effect until the end of the school year.

White Hall: Following recommendations from state health and education officials, the White Hall School District will require that all students and staff members wear face coverings on campus for 60 days starting Aug. 16, the first day of class.

Wonderview: Face coverings will be required indoors and on buses by all students and staff members when physical distancing cannot be achieved, the district wrote in a Facebook post. The district will reevaluate this requirement no later than Sept. 23.

Masks not required:

Alma: The wearing of masks will not be required. Superintendent David Woolly wrote in a statement on the district website that the issue may be revisited if the law changes or future circumstances warrant. He added any student who wants to wear a mask may do so. Schools will have masks available or students can bring one from home.

Bauxite: Masks are encouraged and recommended, but not required.

Benton: Masks are optional for students and staff.

Dardanelle: It’s recommended that all students and staff wear masks.

Elkins: Face masks will not be mandated, the district’s website states. However, students and staff are encouraged to follow CDC and Arkansas Department of Health guidance that a person inside the school should wear a face covering when adequate social distancing is not possible.

Greenbrier: Masks are not mandated, but highly encouraged, according to the district.

Parkers Chapel: The school board voted to “strongly recommend” masks being worn.

Salem: Masks are recommended, though the district said it couldn’t mandate their use.

Sheridan: Masks are optional, but highly encouraged, according to the district.

Siloam Springs: Masks will not be required, the district said.

Southside: The district posted a statement on its website stating, “Due to the fluid legal situation with Act 1002 of 2021, Southside School District will continue covid protocols such as social distancing and cohorting students in preschool through fifth grade. Multiple lunch periods will be provided to allow students to further social distance. A vaccine clinic will be provided on August 16th during open house. Masks will be recommended district wide and encouraged for vulnerable students and staff.”

West Fork: Masks will be strongly recommended, the district website states.

Brianna Kwasnik contributed to this list.

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