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University of Arkansas board votes to require masks on campuses

The board unanimously approved a resolution directing its campuses to develop face mask policies for indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas is requiring masks on its campuses after a judge temporarily blocked the state's law banning mask mandates. 

The Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution requiring campuses to develop face mask policies for indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. 

The policy will implement face-covering policies for students, faculty, staff and guests on each University of Arkansas campus. In accordance with the university guidelines, the HPER Buildings and UREC Fitness Center will require masks at all times beginning August 12. 

The move comes days after a judge issued a preliminary injunction against Arkansas' law banning mask mandates by schools and other governmental entities. 

"This updated mask policy reflects ongoing CDC guidelines and is in the best interest of the health and safety of our campus community," said Acting Chancellor Bill Kincaid in an email to students. "Masks are beneficial not just for individuals to protect themselves but to prevent spreading the virus to others. This is especially important as thousands of students, staff and faculty return to campus for the fall semester."

The acting chancellor also says masks are a valuable tool but the most effective way to stay healthy is to vet vaccinated. 

On Tuesday, August 11, the university also launched a vaccine incentive effort for students where weekly drawings for prizes will be held throughout the semester for all vaccinated students who enter. The drawing will begin September 1 and at least 15 prizes will be awarded each week, including three $500 scholarships. 

At least three dozen school districts have approved mask mandates since that ruling. 

For more information about the University of Arkansas or its COVID-19 guidelines, please visit their website

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