Mesa Public Schools is phasing out mask requirements, and many parents and teachers aren’t happy about it

By Alison Steinbach | Arizona Republic

Many Mesa Public Schools parents and teachers are upset with the mask change.

Arizona’s largest school district plans to phase out its mask requirement after Gov. Doug Ducey abruptly ended the mask mandate for K-12 schools last week.

If comments at a Tuesday school board meeting are any indication, many parents and teachers are upset with the change and want mask requirements to remain.

Mesa Public Schools was among the school districts that changed its face covering rules in light of the executive order, while many other districts chose to keep masks in place as they wrap up the last few weeks of the school year.

Superintendent Andi Fourlis laid out the reasoning behind Mesa’s decision at Tuesday’s governing board meeting, during which board members and district leaders heard a number of public comments from teachers and community members, most of whom were upset with the decision.

Starting this week, masks are strongly recommended, but no longer required, when students are outdoors. Masks are still required in school buildings and on buses this week.

If the district does not show any high transmission indicators on Thursday’s Maricopa County schools COVID-19 dashboard, masks will become “strongly recommended, but not required” inside and on buses starting Monday.

The district says physical distancing to the extent possible, handwashing and hand sanitizing measures will remain, and that masks could become required again.

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