PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Monday afternoon that he is rescinding orders that direct schools in Arizona to require face masks due to COVID-19.

Gov. Ducey's announcement allows school districts to decide if students should be required to masks or not on campus.

“Teachers, families and students have acted responsibly to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect one another, and our school leaders are ready to decide if masks should be required on their campuses. We will continue to work with public health professionals and Arizona’s schools as more students return to the classroom and our state moves forward," Ducey said.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ released the following statement: "Many families and communities are further protected from COVID-19, and our schools are ready to decide their next steps when it comes to masks. We encourage all Arizonans to get the vaccine — it’s safe, effective and absolutely free to the public."

Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman released a statement shortly after appearing to disagree with the Governor's decision. 

"Today's abrupt removal of the mask mandate in schools is just one example in a long line of decisions that have resulted in Arizona's embarrassing response to a virus that has claimed over 17,000 lives and impacted thousands more," Hoffman said. "Children under 16 are still ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines and CDC still recommends universal masking in public schools to ensure safe learning environments. Universal masking - along with other key mitigation strategies - has allowed schools to safely operate during a pandemic."

Arizona's Family reached out to the CDC for a statement on Ducey's decision. The agency said masks should still be worn at all times by all people in school facilities. 

"Since issuing its updated Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention on March 19, 2021, CDC continues to recommend that schools require consistent and correct use of face masks by all students, teachers, and staff to ensure the safe delivery of in-person instruction and to help prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools. Masks should be worn at all times, by all people in school facilities, with exceptions for situations such as eating or drinking. Masks should be required in all classroom and non-classroom settings, including hallways, school offices, restrooms, gyms, and auditoriums, as well as on school buses and other public transportation."

While masks will be not be required in Arizona schools, ADHS is still encouraging schools to follow these protocols: 

  • Washing hands with soap and warm water;
  • Using hand sanitizer;
  • Cleaning and maintaining health facilities; and
  • Staying home when sick.

"While vaccines hold the promise of a return to normalcy, letting up on other mitigation strategies now just increases risk of transmission at a time when we should be doing everything possible to keep students and their families safe," Hoffman continued. "Today's announcement destabilizes school communities as they end what has arguable been the most challenging year for education. I encourage school leaders and board members to work with their communities to make transparent, evidence-based decisions that build trust in the safety of our schools."

"Hallelujah," said Emily Keeler when learning of the governor's decision. Her joy was brief after she found out her district Mesa Public Schools is keeping it's mask rules. "For this year my hands were tied and I'll have to do what they say." said Keeler.

Some teachers were excited their districts are keeping the masks. "I just think its a really good safety measure for the children," said Janet Werbach, a teacher with Deer Valley Unified School District. "I know children aren't as likely to get sick but there is always still a chance they could get sick from the virus." said Werbach.

ARIZONA'S SCHOOL DISTRICTS REACT

School districts around Arizona scrambled to quickly address how they would handle the Governor's order on Monday. You can see the current list of official statements and rules from school districts that Arizona's Family has obtained below.

Gilbert Public Schools

The Governing Board voted to keep its mandatory mask policy through the end of the school year, which ends on May 28.

Mesa Public Schools

The superintendent announced won't be required for students and staff outside, but still required inside starting on April 26 as part of Phase 1. On May 3, Phase 2 will start if COVID-19 continue to drop, which means masks will be optional. MPS says it still strongly recommends masks during both phases.

Chandler Unified School District

The Governing Board voted 3-2 on Wednesday that it will continue its mandatory mask policy with a few tweaks that will start Monday, April 26. Masks will be mandatory for everyone indoors. For Pre-K through sixth grade, masks will be optional during outdoor recess. For grades 7 through 12, masks will be optional only during outdoor P.E. classes. Masks will still be required for indoor P.E. classes. When the new rules go into effect, there will be 22 days left in the school year.

Show Low Unified School District #10

Dear Parents,

Late yesterday, Governor Ducey announced that he would be rescinding portions of Executive Order 2020-51 which required all individuals to wear masks while on school grounds or at school events. In light of this announcement, the Show Low Unified School District will no longer require masks for students and staff while at school. We recognize that the choice to wear a mask is an individual decision, and many of our staff and students may choose to wear a mask. It is important that respect continues to be given to individual decisions regarding this.

It has taken a community effort to keep the doors open for the entire school year. We applaud the contributions each has made in keeping our children, staff, and community safe.

With just under 25 days remaining in the school year, we remain committed to our mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As part of this plan, all students and staff should remain diligent in:

  • washing their hands regularly with warm water and soap
  • using hand sanitizer
  • staying home when sick

We will continue to follow the district mitigation plan.

To view the full outline of our mitigation plan, please visit www.showlow.education and click on the SLUSD mitigation button on the right side of the page.

As we all do our part, we can continue to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students.

Warm Regards,

Shad Housley

Laveen School District

April 19, 2021 Masks continue to be required in Laveen schools

Today, Governor Doug Ducey issued Executive Order 2021-10, which rescinded a section of Executive Order 2020-51 that directed schools to require masks as an Emergency Measure.

Today’s action has no impact on Laveen’s schools or our mitigation strategies. School districts may continue to institute and enforce policies to mitigate against COVID-19 spread, including the use of masks. Additionally, our district policies requiring face coverings in schools remain in effect for the rest of the school year.

While the vast majority of our staff members have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, none of our students are yet eligible for any of the available COVID-19 vaccines. For this reason, masking remains one of our key strategies in keeping our students healthy and in school.

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen firsthand that face coverings are a highly effective method in preventing the spread of COVID-19 on our campuses. Masking is one of the top mitigation strategies for safe in-person learning as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Masks will continue to be required on school campuses, on school buses, and during school-associated activities by all students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors.

Avondale Elementary School District #44

Good evening AESD families,

Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services today rescinded orders that direct K-12 schools to require masks - a section of Executive Order 2020-51.

Avondale Elementary School District has a board action in place from last fall mandating universal mask wearing. We will continue to require all students and staff to wear face masks while on any of our school campuses and district offices.

In addition to this requirement, all existing mitigation strategies will remain in place. Please ensure you are doing our health checklist daily prior to sending your child(ren) to school.

As this remains an ongoing process, we remain hopeful that the decisions made will help keep our students, staff and community safe.

Thank you for your continued support.

Glendale Union High School District

Dear GUHSD Parents/Guardians:

We are writing to clarify that today’s announcement by Governor Ducey does not change the face mask requirement for the Glendale Union High School District.

Governor Ducey’s office announced today that he and the Arizona Department of Health Services rescinded the orders that directed K-12 schools to require masks.

It is important to note that among the new information on the Governor’s website is the following statement:

K-12 school districts and charter schools still maintain the right to institute and enforce policies to mitigate against COVID-19 spread, including the use of masks.

The Glendale Union High School District will continue requiring the use of cloth face masks on all campuses and district facilities until further notice.

Thank you.

Tempe Union High School District

Parent Letter 4.19.21 - Today's Executive Order

Dear TUHSD Families & Parents,

As you may have heard, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order  earlier this afternoon rescinding a previous Executive Order regarding the wearing of masks in K-12 schools.

In accordance with TUHSD’s Governing Board policy JICA-R (webpage), item K, we will continue to ask our students and staff to wear masks during the school day and at all times when on District property. This measure also aligns with our District Health Mitigation Plan (webpage).

I know we all look forward to the day that we don’t have to wear masks anymore, but today is not that day. In order to finish out the school year strong, hold safe in-person graduation ceremonies, and continue to minimize community spread of COVID-19 on our campuses, we ask that you continue to adhere to the current mask policy.

Thank you,

Dr. Kevin J. Mendivil

Superintendent

Tolleson Union High School District

Dear Tolleson Union High School District Students and Parents,

Earlier today, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey rescinded orders that direct K-12 schools to require masks. However, K-12 school districts and charter schools still maintain the right to institute and enforce policies to mitigate against COVID-19 spread, including the use of masks.

For the safety and well-being of all our students, staff members, and community, it is imperative that all students and staff members continue to adhere closely to all mitigation practices including wearing a mask. Wearing a mask is still one of the top mitigation strategies for safe in-person learning as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Again, masks must be worn at all Tolleson Union High School District Schools and events for the safety of our students, staff, and our community. In addition, all COVID-19 mitigation strategies remain in place. These include staying home if you are sick; requiring the correct use of masks at all times; physical distancing of 6 feet (to the greatest extent possible); handwashing and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and maintaining facilities; and monitoring of cases with Contact Tracing in combination with isolation/quarantine.

Phoenix Union High School District

Earlier today, Governor Ducey rescinded orders that direct schools to require masks. However, districts still have the right to enforce masks and other mitigation policies in their schools. PXU’s mask policy will remain in effect for all students, staff, & visitors. Thank you.

Scottsdale Unified School District

April 19, 2021

Dear SUSD Families and Staff,

Today, Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services have taken action to rescind orders requiring school districts to implement face covering policies. Both state that school districts should continue to implement mitigation strategies as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, they reiterate that school districts have the right, consistent with CDC recommendations, to require face masks as a mitigation strategy.

SUSD has been committed to taking steps to provide in-person learning opportunities while working to mitigate potential spread of COVID-19 on our campuses. To date, these mitigation strategies have allowed us to welcome back 85% of our students for in-person learning.

We are 28 school days from the end of the 2020-2021 school year, and while we know there are people who would like us to remove the mask requirement now, SUSD’s 15 zip codes remain in the substantial transmission category and the number of cases has been slowly increasing over the past few weeks. Accordingly, it is the expectation that students and staff will continue to wear masks while on school property, with the previously noted exceptions for recess and physical education, in order to ensure we end the school year strong and in-person.

Thank you.

Scottsdale Unified School District Cabinet and Leadership Team

Apache Junction Unified School District

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Monday afternoon, April 19, rescinded his executive order requiring masks to be worn at K-12 schools.

At this time, however, Apache Junction Unified School District is still under governing board policy requiring masks to be worn by students and staff members. Governor Ducey’s order leaves it up to each district’s governing board to decide the policy moving forward.

As AJUSD receives direction from the governing board we will provide updates. Thank you for your patience.

Payson Unified School District

PUSD just received news that Governor Doug Ducey rescinded orders that directed K-12 schools to require masks/face-coverings.

Effectively immediately PUSD will no longer follow a mask mandate...

Please see (this) link to view updated information regarding the Governors Mask Mandate being rescinded.

Cartwright School District #83

Dear Cartwright Parents or Guardians,

This afternoon Governor Doug Ducey signed an Executive Order that rescinds his order back in July that ordered face masks to be worn inside K-12 educational schools & buildings. What does this mean for your student? As it stands now, according to our mitigation plan which is board policy, face masks are to be worn at all times, and it will stay that way - unless our Governing Board rescinds that policy. But, for now, all staff, students, and anyone entering any of our Cartwright campuses and District Office will continue to be required to wear a mask.

As always safety continues to be one of our top priorities.

Thank you for your support.

The Cartwright School District

#oneteamunafamilia

Roosevelt School District No. 66

Good Afternoon Roosevelt Families,

Today, Governor Doug Ducey rescinded orders that direct K-12 schools to require masks. However, K-12 school districts still maintain the right to institute and enforce policies to mitigate against COVID-19 spread, including the use of masks.

At this time, the Roosevelt School District will continue to enforce the district’s mask policy and require all staff, students and visitors to wear face masks at all times.

Safety is our highest priority and we will continue to work together to mitigate the spread of the virus, including wearing face coverings, washing hands with soap and warm water; using hand sanitizer; cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities; and staying home when sick.

Littleton Elementary School District #65

Today, Governor Ducey rescinded his Executive Order that directs schools to require facemasks. However, districts still have the right to decide and enforce mask use. At this time, the Littleton District will continue to follow our mitigation plan with the goal of keeping our students and staff safe and our classrooms open for learning.

Therefore, there is no change and facemasks remain a requirement.

Chino Valley Unified School District

New statement from Governor Doug Ducey.

Below is a statement from our Superintendent:

Beginning tomorrow, face coverings will not be required to be worn by students, staff, or visitors while on school campuses. Masks will be encouraged and will be offered to those that want them.

In addition, students, staff, and visitors will no longer be temperature checked on arriving on campus.

However, to continue to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the District is continuing to encourage everyone to maintain hand hygiene through hand washing and use of hand sanitizer along with maintaining social distancing when possible.

In cases where we have someone on campus that tests positive for COVID-19, the District will continue requiring the student or staff member to quarantine for the designated amount of time.

John Scholl

Superintendent

Editor's Note: Arizona's Family is will continue to add statements from districts as they become available. Not all districts have published their statements publicly. 

 

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