The Arkansas General Assembly passed a bill in April banning mask mandates across the state, including in schools. However, the Little Rock School Board passed a unanimous resolution Monday asking for support from the General Assembly to reverse course and allow mandates, according to KATV News.
Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is currently “evaluating options for legislative changes to Act 1002 that will give our schools more local control on meeting the health needs of the students as we enter a new school year in the face of the delta variant,” according to 4029 TV.
The state legislature of Arizona banned mask and vaccine mandates, as well as vaccine passports, via the passage of their annual budget on June 30, according to Tucson Local Media. Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey voiced his commitment to the ban following the new CDC guidelines in a statement on his official website. He stated, “this is just another example of the Biden-Harris administration’s inability to effectively confront the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill passed by the state House and Senate in May which banned mask mandates in schools. The bill means “school boards and superintendents can no longer require employees, students or other people to wear facial coverings on the property of a public school or accredited private school,” according to the Des Moines Register.
A Tuesday statement from Gov. Reynolds encourages citizens of Iowa to get vaccinated while also stating, “I am proud that we recently put new laws in place that will protect Iowans against unnecessary government mandates in our schools and local governments.”
Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt voiced his plan to keep kids in schools without masks, saying he is “not planning on declaring an emergency,” the required prerequisite for the introduction of mask mandates in the state, according to The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma schools ceased mandating masks as of July 1 following the passage of Senate Bill 658. The bill states that a public school district may only mandate masks when the jurisdiction is under a Governor declared state of emergency, according to KOCO News.
Similar to Arizona, the South Carolina General Assembly banned school mask mandates via their annual budget on Wednesday, according to Live 5 News. Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster stated his approval of the ban, writing on Twitter “closing schools and mandating masks is not the answer. Personal responsibility is.”
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott banned mask mandates for schools via Executive Order GA-36 in May. The order also bans local governments from issuing any mask mandates. In a Twitter post Tuesday, Governor Abbott made clear his commitment to the ban.
He wrote, “every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask or have their children wear masks.”
The state legislature of Utah passed a bill in May which prohibits mask mandates in K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities, according to Fox 13. Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox called the bill “healthy for our souls” at the time of signing, according to Deseret News.
Other state leaders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, are considering legal measures to ensure students will not be required to wear masks in schools, according to WPTV. The current orders in Florida do not apply to schools, according to Orlando Sentinel.