TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Governor Doug Ducey held his first press conference in weeks to update Arizona on the state of the coronavirus.
It’s the first time he’s done so in several weeks.
Because the virus has surged across the country and is spiking in Arizona, many expected some tough language and maybe a roll-back in business and school openings.
Certainly, many thought, a statewide mask mandate may be announced.
But none of that happened. The Governor said “getting back to normal is not in the cards right now.”
He did, as he has done in the past, reiterate his call to mask up, social distance and be careful this holiday season.
“Governor Ducey missed an opportunity to lead Arizona back towards safer schools,” said Joe Thomas, President of the 20,000-member Arizona Education Association. “We believe a mask mandate is necessary.”
The Governor said 90% of the state is under a mask mandate through city and county guidance.
The lack of specificity has angered some classroom teachers.
“I think they will be very frustrated that they didn’t hear, after weeks of silence, a governor emerging without any real change,” Thomas said. “We need a statewide plan for safer schools.”
The Governor did address the issue of safer schools during his one hour press conference, especially concerning masks.
“They’re already required to have mask policies,” he said. “But Dr. Christ will be issuing emergency measures to make sure schools statewide are implementing those policies on school grounds and school buses.”
But just what are those emergency measures.
“I think if anyone knew what it was, it would have been announced today,” Thomas said. “And if you can’t even articulate what the mandates are going to be, they become even weaker.”
And he adds, there are so many students who follow the rules when in school but don’t when they leave campus.
Thomas believes part of the issue lies with the people who refuse to wear masks, or believe the entire coronavirus issue is a hoax.
“We’re doing the right things on campuses and this mentality is alive among some people and it just erodes your feeling of safety,” he said.