ARIZONA NEWS

Hoffman says ruling against mask mandate bans in Arizona schools ‘right decision’

Sep 27, 2021, 5:26 PM
(AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)...
(AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
(AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

PHOENIX — Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said a Monday ruling that a law banning face mask mandates in Arizona schools violates the state constitution and can’t go into effect this week as scheduled was the right move for students, parents and administrators.

The mask mandate ban and other limits on COVID-19 mitigation efforts was set to go into effect Wednesday despite continued pushback from Hoffman and others who argued the limits would keep students out of the classroom due to possible illness and exposure to the virus.

“I definitely think it was the right decision,” Hoffman told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “I was thrilled to see this ruling because ultimately we wanted to see them restore the local authority back to our school boards to work with public health experts to implement public health policies to keep our students and staff safe.”

Hoffman expects the ruling, made by Judge Katherine Cooper and who noted that the restrictions were rolled into budget bills illegally, will help prevent future COVID-19 outbreaks and disruptions in learning.

The decision came after a lawsuit filed last month by a coalition of educators and allies challenged new laws prohibiting public school districts from imposing mask requirements, colleges from requiring vaccinations for students, and communities from establishing vaccine passports for entry into large events, businesses and other places.

Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, had 219 active outbreaks in schools as of Monday, accounting for a third of outbreaks since data tracking began in August 2020.

“I’m hopeful this will help to accelerate learning ultimately,” Hoffman said.

Dozens of Arizona districts started their school years with face mask mandates in place, disregarding the wishes of Ducey and the Republican lawmakers who passed the laws with no Democratic support.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published research showing that Arizona public schools without mask requirements were over three times more likely to experience COVID-19 outbreaks than schools with mandates.

“The odds of a school-associated COVID-19 outbreak were 3.5 times higher in schools with no mask requirement than in those with a mask requirement implemented at the time school started,” the researchers concluded.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...
Danny Shapiro

Services to be held Tuesday for MCSO deputy killed in line of duty

Memorial services will be held Tuesday for a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy killed in the line of duty earlier this month.
17 hours ago
Rockwell Commander 112, File Image (Wikimedia Commons Photo/FlugKerl2)...
Associated Press

Wreckage of small plane located in southern Arizona; no apparent survivors

The wreckage of a small plane has been located in Pima County and there appears to be no survivors, authorities said Monday.
17 hours ago
Sarah Liguori was appointed to the vacant Arizona House seat for District 28 on Oct. 18, 2021. (sar...
Kevin Stone

Sarah Liguori appointed to fill Arizona House seat for District 28

Sarah Liguori was selected Monday to fill the Arizona House seat for District 28 vacated by Democrat Aaron Lieberman, who resigned last month to focus on his campaign for governor.
17 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@ArizonaDOT)...
KTAR.com

US 60 closed in West Valley because of cement truck fire

U.S. 60 in the West Valley was closed temporarily Monday during the noon hour because of a cement truck fire, authorities said.
17 hours ago
Mary Ann Friesen (Photo via Arizona Department of Public Safety)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert canceled after missing Chandler woman found safe

Authorities canceled a Silver Alert on Monday after a missing Chandler woman was found safe.
17 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/ADOT)...
KTAR.com

Fiery collision on Pima Freeway Loop 101 in Scottsdale leaves 1 dead

One person died in a fiery chain-reaction collision on a Valley freeway Sunday, authorities said.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
...
BARROW NEUROLOGICAL INSTITUTE

More stroke patients eligible for acute treatment, thanks to research

Historically, patients underwent acute stroke treatments according to strict time guidelines. But thanks to recent advancements in stroke research, more patients are becoming candidates for clot-busting drugs and endovascular therapy at specialized centers like Barrow Neurological Institute.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Hoffman says ruling against mask mandate bans in Arizona schools ‘right decision’