The Smackover-Norphlet School Board voted 3-2 to impose a mask mandate for district students during a special-called meeting Wednesday evening.
District Superintendent Jason Black said that 14% of students were currently out of school due to COVID-19, along with 9% of staff members.
Arkansas is currently in the midst of the largest surge in COVID-19 cases its seen since the pandemic began. For two days straight, a record-breaking number of new cases have been reported in the state, and active cases of the virus are higher than they've ever been, on both the state and local levels.
According to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), between 50-99 new COVID-19 cases per 10,000 residents of the SNSD's area were identified between Dec. 20, 2021 and Jan. 3.
SNSD students will be required to wear masks at school beginning Thursday, Jan. 6.
This is a breaking news story; additional details are forthcoming.