Ducey: School mask mandates are ‘toothless and unenforceable’
Governor claims the mandates will not hold up in court
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Gov. Doug Ducey broke his silence after several universities, colleges and public school districts instituted mask mandates despite a recently passed state law.
In the last two days, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona, Pima Community College and Maricopa Community College have said they will require masks indoors when social distancing is not possible.
On Aug. 5, Tucson Unified became the third school district in the state to require masks. TUSD, with around 47,000 students, is by far the largest to go against the state law. The other districts are Phoenix Elementary District (14 schools, 5,000 students) and Phoenix Union High School District (22 schools, 28,000 students).
Gov. Ducey released the following statement on Thursday, Aug. 12.
“COVID has been with us for well over a year and a half now, and Arizonans are educated about it. If they want to wear masks, they should absolutely do so. It’s an individual choice. No one and no law anywhere in Arizona is stopping anyone from wearing masks.
“Ultimately, these mandates are toothless, unenforceable and will not hold up in court. As we’ve said repeatedly, the game-changer in this discussion is the vaccine. It works, it’s widely available and we strongly encourage every eligible Arizonan to get their shot.
“We also strongly believe the FDA should listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics and expand authorization of this life-saving vaccine to children under the age of 12. The FDA needs to ramp up this effort and they need to act quickly.”
HB 2898, enacted in June, prohibits schools from requiring students to become vaccinated or wear masks in the classrooms. The law does not go into effect until Sept. 29.
On Wednesday, Aug. 11, several Republican lawmakers asked Ducey to withhold funding from any school district, like TUSD, with a mask mandate. It is unclear if those same lawmakers want the state’s colleges and universities to face the same fate.
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