The Delta variant is raging across the US and especially in Southern states. Many Governors in the South are doubling down on treating COVID as a culture war issue rather than a dangerous pandemic.
Asa Hutchinson is taking a different tack. The Arkansas governor has changed his mind after seeing how the Delta variant affects children differently than the original strain.
Earlier this year, Hutchinson signed a bill that banned mask mandates in schools. On Tuesday, the Republican admitted that was a mistake and said he will call a special session to reverse it.
The GOP lawmaker noted that he is concerned about children under 12 who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine. He continued, “We understand the value of classroom instruction and we want those children to be as safe as possible.”
Hutchinson also explained why he signed the bill in the first place. “I knew that it would be overridden by the legislature if I didn’t sign it. I had already eliminated our statewide mask mandate.”
Unlike many of his Southern counterparts, Hutchinson has been aggressive about urging citizens to get inoculated. Last month he went on a county to county tour to talk about the shots. He told residents of Texarkana, “Let me make sure it’s clear: I’m not asking you to trust government. I’m asking you to look at, do your own research, talk to people that you trust, and that to me is the right approach.”
Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and hillreporter.com. He enjoys sports, politics, comic books and spending time at the shore with his family.