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Fayetteville Public Schools amends mask requirement policy

The Fayetteville School Board voted unanimously to amend its current face mask policy, making masks optional for certain grades starting in November.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Fayetteville Public Schools School Board met on Wednesday, Oct. 28, and voted unanimously to amend the district's current mask mandate, but it won't go into effect right away. 

Passionate parents packed the room of the Adams Center in Fayetteville asking the board of education to do what they think is best for students.

“This has nothing to do with your rights,” said Fayetteville mom Alicia Flores. “Science doesn’t infringe on your rights. Does not infringe on your freedoms. It is science.” 

Flores advocated for masks at Thursday’s board of education meeting to protect her immunocompromised son. She says she sees how COVID-19 disproportionately affects Indigenous communities.

 Attorney Greg Payne is calling the board’s decision unlawful.

“They’re violating parents' Constitutional rights,” Payne said. “Again, it’s not complicated.”

Fayetteville Schools will amend its current mask requirement depending on COVID-19 cases in the district’s community over a two-week period. If there are 30 or more cases per 10,000 people, masks will be automatically required. However, if the number dips below 30 per 10,000 masks will automatically be optional.

This new mask policy will go into effect starting Nov. 15 for students and staff in grades 7-12 school and on Dec. 23 for K-6.

While some are upset, others say they are satisfied with the decision.

Flores says she wants more protection for her son but says this is a good start.

“People are so entitled that they don’t want to do something, that they’re willing to put the lives of others, even children at risk because of their own selfishness,” Flores said.

Payne says it’s not selfish, but a right not to be required to wear masks.

“I was hoping they’d do the right thing and eliminate the mask,” Payne said. “Mainly because they simply do not have the statutory right to do it.” 

His law firm sued Bentonville Schools and plans to do the same in Fayetteville.

Stay with 5NEWS for updates on that possible lawsuit development. Payne is hoping for a temporary restraining order like the one in Bentonville.

Flores says she will continue to have her son mask up until he can get vaccinated against the virus.

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