An Arkansas mom and several others took to the stand on Monday to challenge the mask mandate ban in the state.

According to reports, Judge Tim Fox issued a preliminary injunction preventing Arkansas from enforcing the ban in August. Fox also claimed that the law violates the Arkansas Constitution because it discriminates between public and private schools.

Attorney Tom Mars, representing the parents and the districts, said there seem to be different rules for public and private schools. Under Act 1002, public school districts cannot require masks, but private schools can.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson regrets his decision to sign the bill

According to KATV, Act 1002 was initially signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and it officially went into effect in July, which Fox later blocked. Hutchinson then released a statement saying that he regrets signing the law.

Hutchinson signed the bill in April during a time when the COVID-19 cases in Arkansas were low. According to NPR, the state only had 44 active cases on April 5.

The governor said that he decided to sign Act 1002 because he knew that the legislature would override it, and he had already eliminated the statewide mask mandate at the time. But everything changed shortly after when the number of active cases in Arkansas increased considerably.

THV 11 reported that over 100 school districts and public charter schools approved the mask mandates following Fox's orders last summer. However, they later lifted the mandates after the COVID-19 cases in the state reached an all-time low.

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Parents, school and health officials took to the stand

One of the two Little Rock School District parents that filed a lawsuit against Arkansas took to the stand to say that she's worried about her son's safety.

She said she wants to have the peace of mind of knowing that his son has an extra layer of protection while in school. As such, McClane and several others are lobbying against the mask mandate ban.

Arkansas State Secretary of Health Dr. Jose Romero echoed the parent's sentiment by saying that masks effectively prevent or minimize the spread of viruses.

"There is no doubt that putting a mask mandate, not allowing the school to have the ability to have the mask, places these children at excessive risk. We should be doing everything possible to prevent infection due to this virus for children," Romero said via KARK.

Superintendent Glen Fenter of the Marion School District revealed that 1,000 students and staff were forced to be quarantined during the second week of school because they were banned from requiring students to wear masks until the ban was ordered weeks later.

After giving their initial testimonies, Fox said that all parties will be given until December 10 to submit their post-trial brief of closing arguments. A ruling will then be made after these closing arguments are submitted.

Arkansas governor puts an end to state's public health emergency

Two months ago, Hutchinson also announced the end of the state's public health emergency even though Arkansas reportedly has one of the highest numbers of active COVID-19 cases.

At the time, the governor released a statement saying that the lifting to the state's public health emergency doesn't mean that the pandemic is over.

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