Catalina Foothills School District responds after Governor’s Office calls COVID policy unlawful

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:57 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Two Arizona school districts, including Catalina Foothills, are responding after the Governor’s Office said their COVID quarantine policies are unlawful.

The letter from Gov. Doug Ducey’s Education Policy Advisor, Kaitlin Harrier, says requiring unvaccinated students exposed to COVID-19 to isolate for 14 days is discriminatory. Vaccinated students are exempt from this requirement according to the districts’ policies.

The Governor’s Office says that’s against the law because a school district or charter school can’t “require a student or teacher to get the COVID-19 vaccine or wear a face mask to participate in in-person instruction.”

Catalina Foothills issued the following statement saying the district is following guidance from the Arizona Department of Health Services and will follow up with ADHS and the Pima County Health Department.

“Like other public school districts, we do not write our own COVID-19 isolation and quarantine guidance policy. We use the practices set forth in the Arizona Department of Health Services Release from Isolation and Quarantine Guidance. We are perplexed by the letter, as it seems to indicate that the current ADHS guidance to K-12 schools is not in compliance with state law. We will definitely follow up with the ADHS and the PCHD for their review.”

The letter from the Governor’s Office also says quarantine policies will lead to too many kids missing class and possibly not meeting mandatory attendance requirements.

The Governor’s Office says the policies must be overturned immediately.

The Peoria District said in a statement it will keep following requirements from Arizona and Maricopa Department of Health Services over quarantine and isolation.

“We have received the letter referenced in the @9thFloorAZ tweet from the Office of the Governor regarding our quarantine policies. Peoria Unified continues to follow the requirements of Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), which provides quarantine and isolation guidance regarding vaccinated individuals on their website, as well as Maricopa County Department of Health Services. We look forward to working with the Governor’s policy advisors and ADHS if there is a need to make changes to our current practices and to communicate any changes directly to our community.”

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