West Memphis students go back to school with mask rules in place

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — School is back in session in West Memphis, as students returned in person Monday after the school board voted on mandating masks in school.

The mandate came after hundreds of students and staff in Marion schools were quarantined.

Students made their way into Weaver Elementary Monday morning. Some things were the same. There were the obligatory first day of school photos, and new outfits.

Something else that’s the same this year as last: students and staff must wear a mask.

Both parents and school leaders say they are doing everything they can to keep the kids healthy and happy.

Parent Gwendolyn Jones said her second-grade son was asking different questions as he navigates a new normal.

“He did ask me this morning if he’s going to have to keep the mask on all day,” Jones said.

It’s a concern that Principal Tracy Valentine says they were ready for. She said only while social distancing at recess can the masks come off.

Inside, they have spaces inside that are gated off, where the kids can go in and relax.

It’s part of an ongoing effort to get back to normal as soon as possible.

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