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Healthcare workers speak out against mask mandates banned in schools

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 5:54 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Health professionals from around the state said banning masks mandates at schools is the wrong decision. This comes as Arizona has lost officially 18,000 lives to COVID-19.

“While we are still in the midst of a pandemic, (it) makes absolutely no scientific or heath sense.” said Dr. Elizabeth Jacobs, Professor of Epidemiology in Tucson.

Schools are not allowed to require masks for students and teachers at public, state schools. The Committee to Protect Health Care said this further disenfranchises the health of people who cannot afford private education.

“They shouldn’t be forced to choose between their family’s safety and economic security,” said Dr. Cadey Harrel, family physician in Tucson.

Many parents and teachers are turning to online schooling options. TUSD is expanding with an online academy that has about 300 students enrolled for the fall.

“It wasn’t until COVID that we realized we should have this potion available for our families and definitely for those families that aren’t necessarily comfortable coming back next school year,” said Flori Huitt, assistant superintendent for curriculum, TUSD.

Primavera Online School has done virtual learning for years and is seeing a rise in interest, as some parents don’t want to send their kids back to in person learning, or it may fit a family’s situation better.

“Online is here to stay,” said Sarah Soliz, social studies department chair, instructor, Primavera Online School. “If anything, we’ve experienced more growth.”

With about a month to go before the first day of school, many children are still not eligible for vaccinations, leaving parents and families with a tough decision—online or in person schooling.

Arizona has just under 50 percent of its population vaccinated, according to the state department of health’s website.

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