A-State yet to discuss if campus masking policies will continue if statewide mandate expires
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
With the possibility, the state-wide mask mandate could end this month, businesses and institutions could keep their own policies in place.
Gov. Hutchinson says he will not renew the state-wide mask mandate that expires on March 31st if Arkansas meets health care goals.
KJNB Northeast Arkansas News speaks with Arkansas State University to see if they are starting the conversation to determine if masks will still be a requirement on campus.
“I think it’s maybe a little premature for us to make a decision on that or really for any institution to make a decision on that,” says chief communications officer for Arkansas State University, Bill Smith. “Because the governor will give us until the end of this month. We’re going to have to wait and see what’s happening. The governor has also expressed that if trends change, we’ll have to adjust. I think that’s the main reason at this time we’re going to wait and see.”
To end the mask mandate, Arkansas must have a 10% or below positivity rate for antigen and PCR tests for a seven-day average.
The state must also test 7,500 people daily.
If Arkansas doesn’t meet the testing requirement, hospitalizations in the state would need to drop below 750.
“It is necessary because we still need to have these items in place, but we’re also made progress,” says Arkansas Go. Asa Hutchinson.
The news comes as Texas and Mississippi ended their Covid restrictions and mask mandates last week.
But institutions including, the University of Mississippi- Ole Miss say they will continue their masking mandate until the end of the semester.
Smith says he is happy with the corporation of the A-State community over the past year.
For following all Covid precautions including, getting tested and quarantining when necessary.
“Those [percautions] are a big factors in the fact that we believe we’ve been able to keep things a little bit on check on campus. And hopefully, this is what’s going to lead us out now with vaccines available. To increasing large numbers of our population. It’s going to be a pathway to a return to a normal fall in 2021,” says Smith.
The university encourages the A-State community and students to receive their Covid vaccine wants they are eligible if they have not already.