Judge Tim Fox struck down a state law that prevents schools and other governmental entities from requiring face masks on Wednesday.

The judge had already temporarily blocked the law back in August.

Judge Fox ruled on Wednesday that the law was unconstitutional on multiple grounds, including it discriminates between children in public and private schools in Arkansas.

Private schools were not barred from requiring masks under the law. More than 100 charter schools and school districts in Arkansas imposed mask mandates following Fox’s ruling in August.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed the ban into law in April, but has since said he regretted that decision and and now says he agrees with Fox’s initial ruling against the ban.

Fox’s ruling comes as Arkansas COVID-19 cases are again on the ride. Tuesday, the Arkansas Department Of Health reported more than 2,400 new cases of the virus and an increase of 51 hospitalizations.

3,743 new cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas have been added Wednesday, December 29, 2021

11,714 – Total Active cases in Arkansas- December 29,2021

Active cases by county

Baxter- 135
Clay- 58
Craighead- 1436
Fulton- 34
Greene- 253
Independence- 112
Izard- 62
Jackson- 64
Lawrence -93
Randolph- 90
Sharp- 83

Arkansas has 9,097 total deaths since the pandemic began in March of 2020.

To protect yourself and others, the ADH recommends:

  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Practice physical distancing. Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick, by keeping at least 6 feet between you and others.
  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 or develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, seek testing. Testing is available in many locations, including ADH Local Health Units.
  • It is recommended to wear a face-covering in all indoor public settings in areas of substantial or high transmission, whether you are vaccinated or not vaccinated. All areas of Arkansas currently have substantial or high transmission. Click here to read the recommendations