Kyrene Unified School District to require face masks, citing COVID-19 surge

Students in the Kyrene Unified School District in the east Valley will be heading back to class tomorrow - but they'll need to remember their mask.

The district notified parents and posted an announcement on Jan. 1, stating that schools would be requiring masks indoors on all campuses and district facilities starting Jan. 3.

The new policy comes after the CDC provided updated guidance shortening isolation times and requiring mask usage for people testing positive for COVID-19. Officials also cited an "elevated community spread" within the district's boundaries.

"Maintaining face coverings at this time will give the Kyrene Emergency Management Team time to see what impact the new guidelines may have on the spread of illness within our schools," officials said in a letter to parents. "Limiting spread is not only in the interest of health and safety but is also critical to ensuring adequate staffing to keep our schools open"

Kyrene officials say they still intend to make masking optional as soon as they are able to.

"Kyrene’s goal is still to make face coverings optional," officials said. However, it is also the District’s primary goal to keep schools open for in-person learning and to have students present on campus as much as possible."

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