SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - J.O. Combs Unified School District in San Tan Valley is one of the few districts to not require face coverings after Gov. Doug Ducey rescinded his school-wide mask mandate for schools. "It was really infuriating," said Stephanie Carey, who has a 7-year-old child attending J.O. Combs who was recently diagnosed with autism.
She's worried the lack of masks by other students will leave her kid exposed and, in turn, spread it to his sister, who is around immunocompromised classmates at another specialized school for children with developmental issues. "Why couldn't we ride out the masks for the last 22 days of the school year?" said Carey. "Then revisit it next year."
In a statement, the J.O. Combs school district told Arizona's School Authority that masks are recommended and there is always an option for virtual learning. Carey said it's not helpful for her child that has special needs. "It's either continue to fight for services for him or let it fall to the wayside and protect our family in the pandemic," said Carey. She decided to send him to class, but the district's decision not to mask up may have her child at another school district next year. "They forced our hand," said Carey.