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University of Arkansas implements face mask policy for upcoming school year

The university will require students and faculty to wear masks in settings where social distancing isn't possible beginning this fall.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The University of Arkansas came out with a plan in June requiring masks to be worn when social distancing isn’t possible.

John Thomas, Manager of University of Communications, says the decision was made after Mayor Jordan issued a mask ordinance for Fayetteville.

The rule in Fayetteville is "no mask - no service," but Thomas says instead of kicking students out that are no wearing a mask, they plan to help them.

“We are going to do the best we can to provide masks if someone doesn’t have one or forgot one. Whether they be disposable or something that is easy to gain for them, we’re not going to deny anyone service or classes,” Thomas said.

The Board of Trustees is meeting on July 15 to talk more about mask-wearing specifications, which means mask guidelines may change again.

Incoming University of Arkansas freshman, Phoebe Harris, says she was a little disappointed when she thought about not getting to see smiles across campus, but after her senior year was canceled, she’s just excited to get to campus and be in class.

“If this is what’s necessary to go to college and to be able to start school in the fall, then you know, wearing a mask isn’t the worst thing ever,” Harris said. “If the mask is what allows us to go out and do Greek life events, go to sporting events and gather in classrooms, then I do think that the mask is ultimately allowing us to have the experience. So I do think COVID-19 will change the experience, but I think that the mask won’t affect it as much as people think.”

*An earlier version of this story stated masks would be required in all indoor spaces. This information was given to us by a UA official and has since been updated.

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