To Mask or Not: Area schools announce masking policy decisions

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 8:45 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 30, 2021 at 10:28 AM CST
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(KAIT) - The surge in COVID-19 cases caused much concern for Arkansas schools, but now, many area schools have announced how they intend to handle the masking policies for their staff and students.

Baxter County

  • The Mountain Home School District will require masking when the district is in purple and red categories, based on numbers from the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

Clay County

  • The Rector School District announced Aug. 11 that it would impose a temporary mask mandate for all students and employees in grades Pre-K through 12, except for children under 2, effective Aug. 12. Superintendent Johnny Fowler said the decision to wear masks will be addressed monthly.
  • The Piggott School Board decided during its Aug. 10 meeting to issue a temporary mask mandate effective immediately. Superintendent Freddie Bowen said the mandate applies to all indoor activities where social distancing cannot be achieved. The board will review the mandate each month.
  • Masks are not required at the Corning School District, according to

Cleburne County

  • The Heber Springs School District will require indoor face coverings during the school day, when there is a red or higher-level warning from the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. The district will also require indoor face covering at Heber Springs indoor venues when six feet of social distancing cannot happen.
  • Masks are not required at West Side School District, according to

Craighead County

  • Jonesboro Public Schools’ mask policy is set to expire. The school board has allowed the resolution requiring masks for students K-12 and employees to expire at the end of Friday, Nov. 19. Additionally, they could review and possibly reinstate the mandate if COVID-19 trends increase again.
  • Masks are not required at the Bay school district, according to
  • Brookland Public Schools posted on social media that starting Wednesday, Oct. 27, students, faculty, and staff would not be required to wear masks.
  • The Nettleton School Board voted Thursday morning to approve a mask mandate resolution, effective Aug. 12. Information about the district’s policy can be found here.
  • The Riverside School District announced Friday, Aug. 13, it would implement “layered prevention strategies” to protect students, teachers, and staff. It is “highly recommending” everyone wears masks in campus buildings and on buses.
  • After a nearly three-hour mask mandate discussion at a special meeting at the Valley View School District, masks will be required.
  • During its meeting on Monday, Oct. 18, the Westside Consolidated School District school board voted to update its mask mandate. Effective immediately, masks will be optional across the district. All CDC guidelines concerning quarantine and social distancing will still be followed.

Crittenden County

Cross County

Fulton County

  • The Salem School District updated its mask policy on Tuesday, Aug. 17, due to a rise in COVID cases in the area. Students and school employees will wear masks while indoors when they cannot socially distance or until positive case numbers in the area decrease.

Greene County

  • Citing a drop in COVID numbers in the last few weeks, the Greene County Tech School Board voted on Oct. 21 to no longer require masks on its school campuses.
  • The Paragould School District adopted a plan this week that will require all students and staff in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade to wear a mask or face covering while in public indoor settings and on school buses unless able to socially distance, officials said on the district’s website. There is also a student mask opt-out form available for parents.
  • Masks are not required at Marmaduke, according to

Independence County

  • The Batesville School District announced Sunday, Nov. 28, it would require masks for all K-12 students and all pre-K through 12 employees for the next two weeks. Masks are also required at all indoor venues, including classrooms, gymnasiums, common spaces, busses, and cafeterias except when eating or drinking.
  • Masks are not required at the Cedar Ridge and Southside school districts, according to

Izard County:

Jackson County:

  • The Jackson County School Board voted Thursday, Aug. 12, to implement a mandatory mask mandate for all students, ages 2 through 12th grade.
  • The Newport Special School Board voted Monday, Aug. 9 to require masks while students are on campus and for school-provided transportation for the first 30 days of the school year. The board will review the policy again after the first 30 days.

Lawrence County

  • Masks are required at the Lawrence County School District, according to
  • Masks are not required at Hillcrest, Sloan-Hendrix, Imboden Area Charter School and Hoxie, according to

Mississippi County

  • On Tuesday, Aug. 17, the Blytheville School Board of Education reinstated the COVID-19 mask policy requiring all students, employees, and visitors to wear facial coverings on campus. Masks will be provided to those who arrive without one.
  • Masks are not required at the Armorel, Manila and Rivercrest school districts, according to
  • Masks are required at the Osceola School District, according to Superintendent Dr. Toriano Green confirmed to Region 8 News that the Osceola School District will be requiring masks.
  • The Gosnell School Board voted Tuesday, Oct. 26, to lift its mask mandate. Despite the decision, the district stated it still “highly encourages” students and employees to wear masks, and will provide masks to those who need them. The ADH guidelines, including those for quarantining and social distancing, remain in place.

Poinsett County

  • At East Poinsett County Schools, masks will be required for some students.
  • Marked Tree Superintendent Matt Wright announced the district will require all students and staff to wear masks in school buildings and buses.
  • During a special meeting on Aug. 12, the Harrisburg School Board approved a mask mandate for students and staff.
  • The Trumann School Board approved a mask mandate policy earlier this week. The policy applies to all students, employees and adults who visit the campus. Officials said masks will be available on buses, classrooms and other places for people to use, noting all students in Pre-K through 12th grade will be required to wear a face covering regardless of their vaccination status.

Mississippi County

Randolph County

  • In Maynard masks are optional but not required, according to »
  • Pocahontas School District school board made masks optional as of Nov. 15.
  • Black River Technical College will implement a mask requirement on Sept. 1.

Sharp County

  • The Cave City School Board will require masks on buses and indoors until the district’s risk level is lower.
  • The Highland School District announced its policy on the mask issue. The district will continue to emphasize the use of washing hands, barriers, COVID daily screenings, fogging, physical distancing and thorough disinfecting of all facilities. There will be a wearing of a mask if the risk level at the district is red or higher based on the school’s website. A “Red Level” involves daily new cases of 50 to 99 per 10,000 people.

St. Francis County

  • The Forrest City School Board voted this week to enact a mask mandate for all students, visitors and staff. The board also authorized the district’s superintendent to have the ability to rescind or reenact the mandate for the remainder of the school year. However, the mandate does not impact students, staff and visitors with a written medical clearance from a licensed medical professional.
  • The Palestine-Wheatley School District has adopted a mask mandate for all teachers, staff and students, when and where applicable, for the first 30 days of school or until Sept. 14.

Stone County

White County

  • The Bald Knob School District voted to approve the requirement of face masks for all Pre-K through Grade 12 students, faculty and visitors to the school. It is also recommended to wear face masks outdoors in social distancing.
  • The Searcy School Board this week approved a resolution that requires that all students, staff, and visitors to Searcy Schools while indoors on our campuses, buildings, and buses wear a face covering/mask that will cover the nose and mouth. The resolution will be in place at least until the state’s emergency declaration has ended.
  • The Riverview School District does not require masks, according to
  • The White County Central School District requires masks, according to

Woodruff County

  • The McCrory School Board approved a plan to require all students and staff to wear a face-covering during the academic school day. The plan is in place until the board modifies the district’s procedures.
  • The Augusta School District requires masks at the district, according to
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