LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - A policy approved Wednesday by the Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees will require everyone on campuses to wear masks.
During the short special-called meeting Wednesday, the board of trustees approved a policy that all students, faculty, staff, and guests must wear a face covering inside and outside, when at least 6 feet of social distancing cannot take place.
The policy follows the current statewide mask mandate Governor Asa Hutchinson enacted in July.
The board’s resolution also went a bit farther than the governor’s mandate.
It also requires students and faculty to wear face coverings during all classroom instruction sessions, regardless of physical distancing.
Arkansas State University student Hailey Schue said she sees both sides of the mask debate.
“I agree with it, just because I would do whatever it takes to keep anyone else safe on campus, especially since you can be a silent carrier and not even know it,” Schue said. “But I do think it causes a lot of issues because it makes it hard for everyday class functions to run, so in a way, I do agree with it, and in a way I don’t,” she said.
Officials said after the meeting they believe the new policy will help in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are committed to the safety of our employees, students, and visitors to campus,” ASU System President Dr. Chuck Welch said. “We think that it’s important for all of our campuses to have clear direction with this policy, and we want to reinforce our support of the strong recommendations of health officials.”
In the statement to Region 8 News, Welch said he believes the wearing of face masks has helped and has been an “effective deterrent to the spread of COVID-19.”
Dr. Welch said there is flexibility for schools to implement restriction as long as they follow state health guidelines, federal and state laws, and intercollegiate athletics participation requirements.