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ASU study reveals Arizona teens less likely to wear masks around friends

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — As coronavirus cases tick up across the state, health authorities are reminding young people of the importance of wearing a mask, no matter who they are around.

A new study by Arizona State University reveals that only 45% of Arizona teens said they mask up when among friends.

Researchers conducted a survey of 2,364 teenagers in Maricopa County during late spring and early summer this year.

The survey found that 76% said they wore masks when they were among strangers in public but were less likely to when around their friends.

Of the participants, 82% said they maintained proper physical distance of at least six feet from strangers, but only 33% said they did so among friends.

Younger age groups are less likely to feel symptoms and could unknowingly spread the disease to older people who are more likely to develop symptoms, health experts say.

The study also surveyed 1,958 Maricopa County parents on the impact of remote learning on teenagers’ schoolwork habits.

“On the one hand, remote learning has an adverse effect on adolescents’ academic motivation as parents struggle to effectively manage their educational activities,” ASU professor and creator of the study Dustin Pardini said in a press release.

“On the other hand, a large portion of teens are not adhering to social distancing practices and gathering in groups, which could lead to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in schools.”

The results showed that only one-quarter of teens spent at least four hours per weekday on academic activities when doing remote schooling.

Four hours is the minimum amount of instruction time required to meet criteria for a full day of school in Arizona.

One-third of adolescents reportedly spent an hour or less per weekday on academic activities when learning from home.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit

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