On June 30, Governor Doug Duchy signed a law banning mandatory masks in schools in Arizona. However, since signing, the number of COVID-19 infections has increased dramatically across the country.
According to federal data, Arizona’s average daily number of cases increased by 327% last month, hospitalizations were at their highest since early February, and more than 1,400 patients are currently being treated.
In light of changing circumstances, some districts in Arizona have state-of-the-art US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding “areas that encourage universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and school visitors.” We have chosen to request a mask as recommended by the Center’s guidelines. Vaccination status “
Dr. Chadgeston, director of the Phoenix Union High School District, has vowed to do whatever he thinks is best for the health and safety of his students and staff, including disobeying the governor’s orders.
“This decision-all the decisions we make-but this particular decision isn’t about rebellion, it’s about science in the end,” Guestson told ABC News.
According to state law, the law prohibiting mask obligations will not come into effect until 90 days after the end of the session. Therefore, Maskman Date will not officially start until September 29th.
Following the updated recommendations from the CDC, Ducey reaffirmed his stance of banning masking in schools.
“School mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, or discrimination based on who is vaccinated or who is not vaccinated is not allowed in Arizona. All of this is legislated. It has been and will not change, “Ducey said in a statement. July 27th. “Today’s CDC recommends wearing masks at school and indoors, regardless of vaccination status, which means that the Biden-Harris administration cannot effectively confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Another example. “
Guestson, who has led high schools in the Phoenix Union district since 2015, said the decision returned nearly 30,000 students to face-to-face learning, raising concerns about high infections and the rapid spread of coronavirus infections in the region. I explained that it was the result of. district.
“From day one, this is March 2020 and we promised to do everything we manage to protect our staff, students and families. Also, we promised to do everything we manage. I courageously promised the community, “he said.
With the advent of the Delta variant, he continued, and the district became very concerned about the aggressive nature of the virus.
Mr Jestson said he was fully aware of the law banning the mandatory mask and the possible proceedings and public opposition that could follow the move.
But he said the decision was ultimately easy.
“Life is at stake,” Gestson said. “We are regaining the souls of 32,000 people, and we had to weigh their effects and consequences. Our people need us to protect them. . “
Douglas Hester, one of the school district’s teachers, has already filed a lawsuit against the school district over the decision to require students and faculty to mask, claiming that it “violates state law.” Hester told ABC News in a statement.
“The legislative power over health issues is reserved in the state, and no school district can decide to unilaterally implement rules that are contrary to the will and intent of legislatively elected national representatives,” the group plans. I wrote it prior to the hearing. For next week.
When asked about the proceedings, Guestson refused to reveal the details of the active proceedings, but from a legal point of view, and as he claims, he is “very comfortable” in the decision. Stated. Guidance from the CDC and other medical professionals.
“When the 29th is reached and the prevalence is still high or significant, CDC and others recommend that indoor masks are important for health and safety, regardless of vaccination status. The Phoenix Union is prepared as usual, to do whatever we need to protect people, and finally when we get there in late September. Will cross the bridge, “Gestson said.
Education professionals say that pandemic learning does not work for all students, and the number of students absent on regular school days has skyrocketed, regardless of distance learning. I emphasize that.
“More than 90% of our students are back on campus,” Gestson said. “We don’t want to be in a position to return to distance learning, so it’s really clear that if science teaches us how to mitigate the COVID epidemic, we’ll follow it, and finally. In the end, it was a decision to create a mask as part of that. “
In addition to masks, other mitigation strategies have also been implemented. Social distance is not always feasible among large high school students, but other things such as consistent disinfection, guarantees of staying in the sick person’s home, proper contact tracing protocols, etc. Measures have been taken.
Gestson’s first mitigation strategy is vaccination.
Phoenix Union has led vaccination events, partnerships with local pharmacies, and drive-through vaccinations in parking lots. During the summer, the gymnasium, cafeteria and auditorium were also vaccination sites for staff, parents and students over the age of 12, eventually immunizing more than 10,000 people.
When asked how parents, staff, and students in the district feel about mask obligations, Jestson understands that he doesn’t want to wear masks, but it’s important for the school to meet in person. Said that.
“Many students said,’If you go to school every day, you’ll wear this mask every day.’ I had no problems meeting the mask requirements,” Gestson said.
Gustson said he was happy with “the overwhelming support he received from staff, students and parents,” although he had heard from parents who did not like the decision to request a mask. Parents understand that the reason behind the mask is to protect their children, and ultimately “I am very grateful not only for this decision, but for all the work done over the last year and a half.” doing. To really prioritize their safety. ”
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Mask Obligations: Despite a ban across Arizona, Phoenix Union High School instructs students to cover their faces
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