How to safely keep Arizona schools open, even if they can’t mandate masks

Parents, teachers and students have the power to act on their own, despite what some elected leaders have said, to keep schools open and safe, Arizona’s education superintendent says./Credit-JiaYing-Grygiel

By Kathy Hoffman/State superintendent of schools | Arizona Republic

(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published only to extend coverage of an issue and to stir comments from our readers.)

If your student is 12 or older, get him or her vaccinated. And send your kids to school with a mask.

After this past year, we can all agree that safely opening our schools and keeping kids healthy should be our number one priority.

While medical and science experts are clear on the mitigation strategies we need to take to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Doug Ducey is now telling Arizona schools they can’t follow that guidance.

Fortunately, parents and guardians, faculty and staff, and all students have the power to act on their own to keep our schools open and safe.

Navigating the beginning of a school year can be hectic without these conflicting messages, so here are clear, evidence-based ways to keep your student and family safe and our schools open:

If your student is 12 or older, get them vaccinated. All leading infectious disease and pediatric experts – including the Arizona Department of Health Services – continue to reinforce that the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant is to be vaccinated. Check with your pediatrician if you have questions about the vaccine.

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