New CDC study shows effectiveness of mask mandates days before AZ law banning mask mandate takes effect
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - On Friday, Sept. 24, the CDC released a new study co-authored by the Pima County Health Department stating that universal masking “considerably reduces the likelihood of a school-associated COVID-19 outbreak.”
This report comes just one day after the Tucson Unified School District voted to keep their mask mandate in place, just days before Gov. Doug Ducey’s law to ban mask mandates takes effect on Sept. 29.
Pima County Health Department director, Dr. Theresa Cullen, is one of seven authors of the study that included nearly one thousand Pima and Maricopa county non-charter public schools.
The study found that schools without mask mandates are 3.5 times more likely to experience a COVID-19 outbreak.
″We recognize the schools will be in a difficult situation as we move toward the September 29th date, but our hope is that this information will encourage and inform people’s decision about the role of masking,” Dr. Cullen said.
With the release of this study, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman made a statement saying, “It is irresponsible of the state government to stand in the way of local leaders making decisions that protect the health and safety of their students and staff.”
In their last board meeting before the Arizona mask mandate ban takes effect, TUSD voted to continue requiring masks – defying the ban.
″I think it’s a bold move by TUSD. I think they’re doing everything they possibly can do to ensure that their students are going to be safe and remain healthy,” Superintendent of Pima County Schools, Dustin Williams, says .
He hopes Gov. Ducey will reconsider this law following the study of mask in schools, but he’s doubtful.
″Usually when the governor sets his tone, he doesn’t go back on when he makes his decision. Unfortunately, this is a poor decision. I wish he would make a change, but I don’t think he will,” Williams said.
At this time 10 out 13 pima county school districts have a mask mandate in place.
A Maricopa county judge is expected to soon rule on a lawsuit that could overturn the state’s law prohibiting mask mandates in schools.
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