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Arkansas mask mandate trial finishes in one day with no ruling

The judge has already temporarily blocked the ban on mask mandates, but heard arguments on Monday on whether or not to keep it, or permanently strike it down.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The high-interest "Mask Mandate Trial" in Little Rock finished in one day. 

The case surrounding Arkansas' ban on mask mandates comes after lawmakers passed an act that prohibits state entities, like schools, from enacting mandates earlier this year. 

Parents and districts challenged the new law, leading Judge Tim Fox to temporarily block it until he could hear from both sides.

For the amount of plaintiffs and defense in this case, the trial moved at a fast-pace. 

Court adjourned a little after 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 22, the first day of trial. 

Ten witnesses were called to the stand from the plaintiff's side, which included attorneys for two school parents, the Marion and Little Rock School District and Pulaski County.

Some of those witnesses included the Chief Medical Officer for CHI St. Vincent, one of the plaintiff's and a parent Veronica McClane, Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde, Pulaski County Sheriff Eric Higgins and Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero.

Dr. Jones said his other colleagues agree with his opinion on masks, that the use of them and vaccinations is the best strategy to protecting kids in schools from COVID-19. 

Judge Hyde gave a powerful testimony, where he stated that when Act 1002 was passed, he felt "crippled" and didn't know how to provide protection for people who walked into county buildings. 

Dr. Romero stated that if schools can't require a mask mandate it "places children at an excessive risk."

Both Superintendents for the Marion and Little Rock School District were also called to the stand. 

The Marion School District Superintendent, Dr. Glen Fenter, said the second week of school they had over 1,000 quarantines and no mask mandate. 

He said it was a "very difficult situation and completely out of control."

Fenter believes if a mask mandate could've been in place, the situation would've been better.

The day ended with Gov. Asa Hutchinson's attorney calling two witnesses to the stand. 

It looks like we don't have a decision on the mask mandate ban until Dec. 10, at the earliest. 

That's when attorneys will give their final briefs at noon and then Judge Fox will make his decision.