Numbers on COVID-19 remain moderate, but the vaccinations still could stand to speed up.

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Much of the discussion at Governor Hutchinson’s weekly briefing today concerned efforts to reach out to underserved populations — minorities, rural areas and the elderly — and to generally urge all to get shots. There will be clinics, strike teams and other means of encouragement. Schools will also participate in helping those 16 and over get shots.

In response to questions, Hutchinson said he couldn’t support a vaccine passport. But he said he favored allowing private businesses to set rules on vaccination and other precautions. But it shouldn’t be a condition of travel, he said.

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Education Secretary Johnny Key said standardized testing required by the federal government was underway and seemed to be going well. Students cannot be penalized for going to school to take the test. At the end of the six-week testing period, he said the state would evaluate whether it needed a waiver from federal rules on 95 percent participation.

 

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