Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he regrets signing a bill in April that bans local mask mandates in the state.
“Our cases were at a low point. Everything has changed now, and yes, in hindsight, I wish that had not become law,” Hutchinson said.
During a press conference Tuesday, the governor said the only option now is to either amend the law or have the courts declare it unconstitutional.
Hutchinson called a special legislative session to help protect children in school.
He’s asking lawmakers to “provide an exception to the law that would grant each school board the authority to decide whether to require students younger than 12 to wear a mask.”
Hutchinson notes that children 11 and younger cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Local school districts should make the call and they should have more options to make sure that their school is a safe environment during a very challenging time for education,” Hutchinson said.
The Associated Press reports Arkansas has seen a 517% increase in the number of virus cases among people under the age of 18 between April and July.