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LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson authorized high school football teams to begin no-contact practice with helmets next week as confirmed coronavirus cases topped 42,000 in the state.
Hutchinson also instructed the Arkansas Activities Association to submit a plan to the state Department of Health to allow football, volleyball and cheerleading to proceed this fall.
The Republican governor said he heard from students and families across the state in favor of contact sports this fall, and that he wanted to discourage students from traveling out of state to compete in sports.
“As I have said on numerous occasions, we need school this fall and part of school are the sports and other curricular activities that go with school,” Hutchinson said.
Arkansas’ confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 752 on Friday and the state added 11 new deaths for a total of 453, Hutchinson said. However, the actual number of cases in Arkansas is likely higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.
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