SPRINGDALE, Ark. —
The decision for students to wear masks in the Springdale School District will now be left up to parents.
The Springdale School Board voted Tuesday, Sept. 14, to let the current hybrid mask policy expire.
For the first month of school, the district had required students in Kindergarten through 7th grade to wear masks and was optional for students 8th through 12th, plus staff and visitors. '
Those both for and against the mask mandate spoke at the meeting before the board made its decision. This includes a current teacher who urged the board not to wedge itself into the family-health decision-making process and a mother whose daughter has profound speech disorder delay.
"And I urge you to show conviction and to let this thing expire so that we can unmask our kids and so we can get back about the business of education because masks do interfere with it, it's hard to understand each other with this going on, it been the toughest 2 years of my career," said Josh Rice, a Springdale teacher of 17-years.
"If the mask mandate ends in Springdale school districts, I will rip my child out the school, and I will suffer whatever consequences the law wants to come after me for," said Christina Araiza, a parent in support of masks. "What kind of damn memories am I going to have with my kid if she ends up getting COVID and then she's dead? I'm going to have to live with the fact that I let my child go to school without wearing a mask," said Christina Araiza, a parent in support of the mask.
In the most recent Arkansas Department of Health School Report posted Monday, Sept. 13, the Springdale School District reported 76 active cases with a cumulative total of 541 cases since the beginning of August.
The Superintendent of Springdale schools also told the board about a letter he sent to state leaders last week. The letter asked for alterations to the Springdale District's quarantine requirements for those wearing masks. He also says he is discussing the issue with the Governor and the State Secretary of Health.