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Arkansas prison lets some coronavirus-positive staff work

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas prison staff who test positive for the coronavirus have been allowed to work at a facility where at least 876 inmates have the virus. Arkansas Division of Correction Director Dexter Payne said Tuesday that the agency has allowed staff with the virus to work at the Cummins Unit if they are asymptomatic. Payne says the staff are only allowed to work with inmates who test positive for the virus. Payne detailed the state's policy in a document filed in response to a lawsuit by inmates that claims prison officials haven't done enough to prevent the spread of the virus.


Arkansas universities plan for classes on campus in the fall

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Officials at universities in Arkansas have announced plans to reopen campuses in the fall for in-class instruction after schools were closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the University of Arkansas System trustees approved a resolution Monday directing officials and campuses to “reopen to students, faculty and staff” in the fall. The Arkansas State University System also announced a plan to reopen dormitories and have classes on campus an at its six schools and Henderson State University, which will integrate into the system. Arkansas Tech University President Robin Bowen said the university was planning for campus classes in the fall.


Arkansas boy drowns while swimming at Texas beach

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Authorities say a 10-year-old Arkansas boy drowned while swimming with his family at a Texas beach. The Galveston County Sheriff's Office says Micah Batson of Little Rock died Saturday while swimming in the waters off Crystal Beach. The sheriff's office says the boy became separated from his father when a wave crashed into them. It was the first weekend that beaches were open in Galveston since March 29, when they were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Meatpackers cautiously reopen plants amid coronavirus fears

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota pork processing plant is taking its first steps toward reopening after a virus outbreak among workers that was one of the worst in the nation. Smithfield Foods shuttered its Sioux Falls plant for over two weeks after more than 800 employees became infected. Two departments at the plant reopened Monday. Meat processing plants across the country are cautiously reopening after President Donald Trump’s executive order last week classified them as critical infrastructure. Workers, farmers and meat-eaters alike are watching to see if new safety measures will be enough to prevent more outbreaks at the plants.


Virus restrictions stymie signature-gathering campaigns

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Social distancing rules and bans on mass gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak have made the crucial signature-gathering process of American electoral politics all but impossible. That has stymied a gubernatorial run in Utah, a congressional campaign in Michigan, U.S. Senate contests in Massachusetts and initiatives that were headed to fall ballots in Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Ohio and Oregon. Campaigns and candidates are seeking relief from governors, state elections officials and sometimes the courts, with mixed results


Arkansas boy, 11, dies after being shot in hostage situation

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) — An 11-year-old boy who was shot and wounded after being taken hostage by his father in Arkansas has died. Little Rock police said Saturday the boy was found in a bedroom suffering from gunshot wounds after his father was killed by police Friday evening. Officers went to the scene after the child’s mother showed up at a police substation to report a man had taken her son, Jordan Roberts, hostage. Police sent a SWAT team and said officers entered the home when they heard gunshots.