NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Students in Arkansas will not be required to wear a mask this upcoming school year, leaving the decision up to each student and parent. “To say that we are not allowed to have a tool because the governor, deems it inappropriate or a risk to freedom is a big problem,” parent Judson Scanlon said. 

Scanlon’s daughter goes to school in the North Little Rock School District. 

Scanlon said she is still sending her daughter to school but has concerns about her safety. 

“She can’t get vaccinated,” Scanlon said. 

Right now, the vaccine is only approved for ages 12 and up. Scanlon’s daughter doesn’t fall into that category. 

Other parents say students should have the choice. 

“I don’t think they should be required,” Barbra Bogard who has children in the Mayflower School District said, “I had four grandchildren catch COVID at school. they wore masks, and it didn’t help.

The North Little Rock School District said they will have to abide by the state’s ruling but are still encouraging those who can get vaccinated to do so. 

“The health and safety of all of our students is our number one priority,” NLRSD Superintendent Gregory Pilewski said. 

Pilewski said the district will continue to distance students in the classroom, uses plexiglass dividers and encourage hand washing. 

“Other than the mask, it’s business as usual,” Pilewski said. 

Pilewski said the new rule will go into effect August 1. 

The NLRSD will still offer virtual learning for students who don’t feel comfortable coming in person.