Seven states across the U.S. banned mask mandates for students in schools.
The states include Arkansas, Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, according to local activity tracking platform Burbio.
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) July 28, 2021
The bans came prior to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new mask guidance, which “recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.” Several state leaders are standing firm on the bans as COVID-19 and its delta variant continue to pose very little risk to otherwise healthy children. (RELATED: DeSantis: ‘Kids Do Not Need To Be Wearing These Masks’ For Fall School Semester)
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 Little Rock School Board voted unanimously Monday to adopt a resolution that seeks support from the Arkansas General Assembly for local school districts to implement a mask mandate for the 2021-2022 school year. https://t.co/8gt2dw34Op | #arnews pic.twitter.com/7ltcFrV03J
— KATV News (@KATVNews) July 27, 2021
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.”
Arizona does not allow mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports or discrimination in schools based on who is or isn’t vaccinated. We’ve passed all of this into law, and it will not change.
See my statement on the updated CDC guidance: https://t.co/YubNffZpq5
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) July 27, 2021
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.”
The Delta Variant poses a real threat to South Carolinians. However, shutting our state down, closing schools and mandating masks is not the answer. Personal responsibility is.
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) July 27, 2021
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 time for government mask mandates is over—now is the time for personal responsibility.
In May, I signed an executive order prohibiting mask mandates by gov’t entities.
Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask or have their children wear masks.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 27, 2021
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.