LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Updated COVID guidelines from the CDC came out just days before kids are set to return to school.
- No longer requiring people to quarantine if exposed to the virus
- Relaxed rules when it comes to contact tracing people without symptoms
- No longer need to social distance, but avoid crowded areas to reduce the risk of exposure
On Thursday night, the Little Rock School District voted to remove their mask policy, instead making them optional— but district leaders also approved a way to make sure they could bring them back if needed.
Moments after the board unanimously passed a motion to make masks optional, people in the room took off their face coverings.
The school has had a mask policy in place since last year— until now.
LRSD Board President Greg Adams said that there was an overwhelming amount of emails from people within the district who wanted masks to be optional, which the board took into consideration.
The board also passed another motion that allowed the superintendent to put COVID precautions back in place if things changed with advice from public health officials and the board.
"Depending on the situation, possibly masks could be put back into place for all people in the buildings, possibly instruction could be moved to virtual instead of in person, you could close buildings or the district if they needed to," said Adams.
The CDC's updated guidance no longer recommends students to quarantine if they are exposed to a COVID-positive person.
For masks, the recommendation is to wear them when community transmission is at a high level.
Keep in mind that Pulaski County is still high for community transmission.
That means it's still recommended that people wear a mask indoors in public places and get tested if they have symptoms.
"..so wear a mask when it's high. When it's not, the recommendation isn't for everyone you don't have to do that... base it on your personal risk," said Dr. Joel Tumlison with the Arkansas Department of Health.
Masks are optional at the Pulaski County Special School District.