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At Least 16 School Districts To Require Masks, Ducey Prohibits Local Government Vaccine Mandates

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Five more Arizona school districts have joined the growing list of districts that are requiring students and staff to wear masks, even though a state law bars such mandates. Two districts in the Tucson area and three in metro Phoenix issued mask requirements after a Maricopa County judge ruled Monday that the state law doesn’t take effect until Sept. 29. In all, at least 16 districts in Arizona are requiring students and staff to wear masks while indoors amid fears over the delta variant.

A judge is letting a school district in metro Phoenix keep its requirement that students and teachers wear masks, at least in the coming weeks, even though a new state law bars such mandates.

Meanwhile, Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order Monday prohibiting local government entities from rolling out vaccine mandates. The order recognizes any vaccine mandate from a city, county, or other body of local government as a class three misdemeanor. Ducey in a statement urged Arizonans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, adding, however, that inoculation should be treated as a personal decision. The new order also states that government employees can use earned sick days in the event that they are infected with the virus. Ducey meanwhile has continued to defend state legislation passed earlier this summer that prohibits mask mandates in K to 12 schools. A spokesperson for the governor said Ducey’s office was confident that the law was constitutional, though the law now faces litigation from the Arizona Education Association.

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