Governor Ducey’s decision refuels mask debate in schools

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 6:48 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Governor Ducey’s decision to rescind mask mandates in schools caused school districts to act quickly. So far, all Southern Arizona public school districts have decided to keep their mask mandates in place for students K-12. Parents are on opposite sides of the mask debate.

Pima County Superintendent of Schools Dustin Williams says, “What happens when the governor does these orders, it opens up that confusion. And it opens up the debate if masks work and if they don’t "

Governor Ducey says his actions align with CDC guidance, but according to the CDC, to provide in-person instruction safely, schools must continue with prevention strategies including social distancing and the correct use of masks.

Superintendent Williams says the governor’s decision comes too soon, “We’re so close to finish out the year, schools are doing so well right now with their safety measure and learning it just would’ve been better to postpone it till the end of the year.”

Several parents agree.

Parent and nurse, Gennan Al-Kavran says, “It’s just a few weeks left in school. Let’s just go ahead and finish the school year and we’ll see where we stand.”

Amphitheater Public Schools is just one of the many school district keeping their mask mandate in place. Many parents are backing this choice.

Like Alexander Allen, who says, ″I agree with how they’re handling it. You know we’re trying to keep all the students and staff safe and that way kids can still enjoy their school activities.”.

And Samantha Blodgett says, ″I do like the masks, my kids were sick a lot last year, they’re very prone to being sick and this year with the masks, they haven’t been sick at all.”

But there are also parents on the opposing side of the mask debate. Several posting their thoughts on social media rejoicing over Governor Ducey’s decision. And others turned to anger as schools released their plans for the rest of the school year.

Superintendent Wiliams says they received many calls from parents this morning about schools requiring masks, “I would just ask our parents to be patient, please work with the schools, continue to wear your mask at school and we can reevaluate this in the summer”

Williams says he understands the frustrations parents are feeling, but with rising cases in the county, he believes it’s best for the school’s mitigation strategies to stay strong.

So far, just a few schools in the Phoenix area have decided to lift their mask rules, while the largest districts have opted to keep them, for now.

Superintendent Williams says the topic of masks in schools will likely be revisited after the end of the school year or in early June to prepare for the fall semester.

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