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Fort Smith School Board extends mask policy

Fort Smith School Board is extending the mask policy 30 days and giving the administration time to come up with a hybrid proposal.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — The Fort Smith School District will maintain its mask mandate into November 2021. 

The Fort Smith School Board held its monthly meeting Monday, Sept. 27 and approved the extension of the mask requirement for all students and staff by 30 days.       

The current mandate was supposed to end on October 8.

"The masks, most of yall's masks that are in here don't do anything," said Matt Blaylock, Fort Smith School Board Member. "They're for show. They make you feel better about yourself and that you have some sort of control over it."

In the extra 30 days, the board has directed the Fort Smith Public School administration to come up with a plan that would use the Arkansas Department of Health's data to determine whether the mandate stays in place.

"It's my job to keep schools open and wearing masks and requiring masks allows us to keep our teachers in school and not at home quarantining and that allows us to keep schools open," said Dalton Person, Fort Smith School Board Member.

The vote was taken after more than an hour and a half of discussion. 

The Fort Smith School Board will be reviewing the administration's plan for the mask policy at its regularly scheduled meeting in October. 

Farmington Public Schools also announced tonight that its policy will recommend mask-wearing instead of requiring it, deciding based on data from the ACHI. For the Farmington Public Schools mask policy, please click here

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