Most Arkansas public school students under mask mandate

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FILE – In this Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, file photo, fifth-grader Marcques Haley, gets his temperature checked by school nurse Rachel White before entering Stephens Elementary School in Little Rock, Ark. Most Arkansas public school students will be required to wear masks when 2001 classes begin in mid-August 2021, following moves by dozens of districts in response to a judge blocking the state’s mask mandate ban. (Tommy Metthe/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Most Arkansas public school students will be required to wear masks when classes begin next week.

At least 60 public school districts and charter schools have approved the requirements in the week since a judge prevented the state from enforcing a law banning school districts and governmental entities from requiring masks. The requirements will cover at least half of the state’s 473,000 public school students.

The pace at which the mandates are being approved surprises even health experts who say they’re needed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as Arkansas’ case and hospitalizations skyrocket.

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