Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services rescinded executive orders requiring masks in K-12 schools on April 19.
“Nearly 2 million Arizonans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with many teachers and school faculty now full vaccinated after being some of the first in line for vaccine prioritization,” Ducey said in his announcement.
“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.”
The current recommendation by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that “all schools should prioritize universal and correct use of masks, physical distancing of 3 feet, hand-washing and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and maintaining health facilities, and contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine.”
Glendale Union High School District retains its mask requirement until the end of the school year.
“We are writing to clarify that today’s announcement by Gov. Ducey does not change the face mask requirement for the Glendale Union High School District,” according to an announcement sent to parents. “The Glendale Union High School District will continue requiring the use of cloth face masks on all campuses and district facilities until further notice.”
The Peoria Unified School District also said its intentions in an email to staff and families.
“Peoria Unified’s policy and regulation JICA-RB and GBGB-RB, requiring masks for all staff, students and guests on all school and district properties,” would remain until the governing board could discuss it.
The board met on April 22, and PUSD Communication Manager Erin Dunsey sent an update on the district’s mandate.
“Tonight, the Peoria Unified Governing Board voted to keep the district’s current COVID-19 mitigation procedures, which include the requirement for facial masks for all students, staff and guests on all school and district properties through the end of the school year,” the statement read.
“Our mitigation procedures will continue to be reevaluated as we transition to our summer programming and prepare for the start of the next school year. We remain hopeful for as normal a start to the 2021-2022 school year as possible.
“Thanks to our mitigation plans and the diligence of our student, staff and parents, our schools have remained open for teaching and learning. We have many milestones to celebrate through the remaining 19 days of the academic year, including promotions and graduations. Safety always has been and remains out top priority. We look forward to a strong finish to the school year and to celebrating the success of our students.”
Peoria’s current mask policy requires everyone on any district campus to wear a face covering. Children younger than two do not have to wear masks, along with anyone who has trouble breathing and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.