A lawsuit against the state was filed on Thursday by the school districts in Little Rock and Marion over the ban on mask mandates.
The Arkansas General Assembly earlier this year passed a law prohibiting public entities from requiring masks. The suit seeks a temporary order blocking enforcement of the law while the suit is being considered. In Marion, where school has already started, hundreds of students and district staff members are quarantining after a recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson called the legislature into special session this week to consider amending the ban as it pertains to public schools. No action was taken Thursday.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 patients in Arkansas hospitals Thursday was reported at 1,251, a six-month high. But the number of people receiving the vaccine grew as well. The state reported the number of doses administered in Arkansas at 11,685, up 968 in a week.
In Northwest Arkansas, Fayetteville’s Washington Regional Medical announced Thursday that it has implemented phase 4 of its COVID surge plan and has staffed a third dedicated COVID unit. As a result, it will be postponing some non-emergent and elective surgeries and pausing some clinical operations, officials said.