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Arkansas Department of Education releases COVID-19 guidelines for schools

While the CDC is reversing part of their stance on mask wearing, ADE is hoping their guidelines will bring more comfort to schools looking to keep restrictions.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — On Tuesday, the CDC reversed its masking guidelines, specifically for when people are indoors, saying: Unvaccinated people should wear a mask, everyone should wear masks in places with high transmission, and school goers should return to face coverings.

"The reality is we are dealing with a much different strain of this virus than we were even earlier in the spring," said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) released their own new COVID-19 guidelines on the heels of the CDC's announcement.

These guidelines include wearing masks indoors if not fully vaccinated, continuing social distancing, and updating quarantine rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people if they come into contact with someone who is positive.

"If they are fully vaccinated and they are not showing symptoms in essence they would not have to quarantine as long as they are vaccinated and not showing symptoms," said Kimberly Mundell with ADE.

The Department of Education says these guidelines will not interfere in any legislation recently passed banning mandates. They are simply guidance schools can use to best protect their staff and students.

"We are encouraging them to review this guidance, take it back to their local communities, and implement best practices with what works best for them," said Mundell.

ADE recommends anyone who is eligible to get the vaccine to do so before school starts. Multiple school districts told THV11 they will be reviewing the new guidance and updating their policies as needed.

School districts still have the option to submit their digital plans to the Arkansas Department of Education by August 2.