For Immediate Release

August 10, 2021


John Lyon
Strategic Communications Manager


LITTLE ROCK ― Following the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement’s release Tuesday of a statement from its board calling on all Arkansas schools to require masks when the school year starts, multiple organizations in the state indicated their support for school mask requirements, ACHI said. 

In a follow-up news release Tuesday, ACHI said the following have communicated to the health policy center their support for the ACHI Health Policy Board’s call to action for all Arkansas K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to adopt indoor mask requirements for the next 30 days for all students, teachers, and staff members, regardless of vaccination status: 

  • Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield 
  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital 
  • Arkansas Children’s Northwest 
  • Arkansas Hospital Association 
  • Arkansas Medical, Dental & Pharmaceutical Association 
  • Baptist Health 
  • CHI St. Vincent 
  • Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas 
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 
  • Washington Regional Medical Center 
  • Rabbi Barry Block (Congregation B’nai Israel) 
  • Mercy Hospital Fort Smith
  • Bishop Gary Mueller, Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church

“The highly infectious Delta variant is spreading rapidly through communities across our state,” said Dr. Joe Thompson, president and CEO of ACHI and a pediatrician. “As our kids return to schools, colleges, and universities, we must protect those we can through vaccinations and safeguard those we cannot with masks. The next 30 days are critical to avoid overwhelming our healthcare system and exposing our children to unnecessary risk. I thank these organizations for supporting our board’s call for mask requirements and encourage more to do the same.” 

ACHI is a nonpartisan, independent health policy center that serves as a catalyst for improving the health of all Arkansans through evidence-based research, public issue advocacy, and collaborative program development. Its Health Policy Board, consisting of 21 voting members and two ex-officio members, is an independent, self-perpetuating board that guides ACHI’s involvement in and positions on specific policy matters.