CONWAY, Ark – Students in Conway will start the year with masks, following a decision made by the Conway School Board Tuesday.
The board voted 4 to 2 to follow what’s called a stoplight mandate.
When the community has high hospitalizations and case numbers, it’s considered by the CDC in the red zone and that’s when masks will be required in the school district.
When it drops into the yellow zone, masks will be strongly encouraged, and green, masks will be optional.
The decision did not come lightly though. Many board members and parents were split between both sides.
One board member made the argument that masks shouldn’t be required because he believes the district is being controlled too much by fear of the virus.
“There are things that we can see that we fear and there are things that we can’t see that we fear,” Conway Board member Bill Clements said, “I’ve learned not to fear this thing we can’t see.”
Other parents said masks should be a no-brainer with rising cases and hospitalizations.
“It would be absolutely crazy not to do what scientists that are experts in their fields believe in,” Brooke Morgan who has two children in the school district said.
Both sides could agree on the fact that in-person learning is the best option for students.
This year though, at least for the beginning of the year, it will be done with masks on.
Board member Andre’ Acklin says it comes down to wanting to protect your neighbors.
“We don’t have a mask problem, we’ve got a love problem,” Acklin said.
School in Conway begins August 16, on the first day masks will be required.
If the community gets out of the red zone with hospitalizations and cases, that’s when the board will reassess its decision.