Phoenix Elementary School District board votes to require masks

Aug 3, 2021, 5:57 AM | Updated: 2:55 pm
(AP Photo/LM Otero)...
(AP Photo/LM Otero)
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Elementary School District will require students, staff and visitors to wear masks when classes begin Thursday.

The governing board voted unanimously in an emergency meeting Monday night to mandate masks while indoors. Limited opt-outs based on medical reasons will be allowed.

“We need to do all we can to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses on our campuses,” the district said in a press release.

“We know that our children learn best in person and we will implement mitigation strategies that help to minimize the spread of illnesses, reduce the need for quarantining, and avoid classroom and school closures.”

The district encompasses 14 schools and mover 5,000 students.

The decision follows Phoenix Union High School District’s mask requirement for students and staff, in opposition of Gov. Doug Ducey’s ban on school mask mandates.

“This is not an easy decision but we are trying to navigate that as best possible,” board Vice President Carmen Trujillo said after the meeting.

“Requiring face coverings is more about safety than it is about anything else. It’s for the safety of our students and teachers. That is the highest priority.” 

Ducey’s office told KTAR News 92.3 FM last week, “Arizona is not anti-mask, we’re anti-mask mandate.

“Ultimately, this is about personal responsibility and parental choice — something Arizona has long-supported.”

Another district could be taking action. Creighton Elementary School District scheduled a board meeting and virtual public hearing Tuesday afternoon to discuss “precautionary health guidelines.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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Phoenix Elementary School District board votes to require masks