Gov. Doug Ducey rescinds mask mandate for Arizona schools

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Erin Snodgrass
·2 min read
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Students wearing masks in school. Photo by KURT DESPLENTER/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lifted mask mandates for schools in the state Monday.

  • Ducey cited high vaccination rates among teachers and staff in a tweet thread explaining his decision.

  • But children under 16 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey lifted mask mandates for schools in the state Monday, allowing districts to decide whether or not they would keep the COVID-19 safety precaution in place moving forward.

In a tweet thread explaining his decision, Ducey noted that 2 million Arizonans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, including many teachers and school staff.

"Teachers, families and students have acted responsibly to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect one another, and our school leaders are ready to decide if masks should be required on their campuses," he said.

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Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ in a Monday statement encouraged all Arizonans to get vaccinated, but appeared to support Ducey's decision, saying "our schools are ready to decide their next steps when it comes to masks."

Schools in the state will still have the option to choose to require masks, but the state will no longer require it.

Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman slammed the governor's decision in a statement Monday.

"Today's abrupt removal of mask mandates in school is just one example in a long line of decisions that have resulted in Arizona's embarrassing response to a virus that has claimed more than 17,000 lives and impacted thousands more," Hoffman said.

She noted that children under 16 are still ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines nationwide, and the CDC still recommends universal masking in public schools to mitigate risk.

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