Despite Arizona ban, Phoenix Union High School District announces indoor mask mandate; mask restrictions at some national parks
By Lita Nadebah Beck, Megan Taros | Arizona Republic|
Phoenix Union High School District will require masks to be worn indoors when students head back to school next week — despite an Arizona law that bans mask mandates.
Citing the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus and updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, the district said students, staff and visitors must wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
In a statement, Gov. Doug Ducey’s office said Phoenix Union’s policy is not allowed under Arizona law, calling the district’s move “unenforceable.”
“Arizona is not anti-mask, we’re anti-mask mandate,” the statement said. “As the governor has often said, mask usage is up to parents. If a parent wants their child to wear a mask at school, they are free to do so.”
Decisions about masks are about personal responsibility and parental choice, the Governor’s Office said.
“School administrators should be doing everything they can to encourage eligible students and staff to get vaccinated, not break state law,” the statement said.
In its announcement, Phoenix Union said the district believed it was “imperative” to follow guidance from the CDC and other health agencies.
“Recently, we have heard from our staff, students, and families that they want us to realign our mitigation practices with the guidelines and recommendations of national and local health agencies,” the district said in a statement.
The CDC on Tuesday updated its recommendations on masks, advising universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors inside schools from kindergarten to 12th grade, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.