Mask mandate in place for students and staff at Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix

It was another first day of school in the Valley, this time for one of the largest elementary districts in the state -- and they're one of the area's districts mandating masks in the classroom.

The flag was raised, the speed limit signs were rolled into place, and the school year has begun at Richard E. Miller Elementary School in Phoenix.

"I'm doing ABCs and doing my numbers," said 1st grader Jacob Crespin.

"She's been here with me. Working from home. Now she's going to school.. it's sad," said Diego Resendiz, a parent.

"Math. That's my most favorite thing to do," said 4th grader Giuliano Crespin.

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Kindergartener Michaela says "I love school and I love going to school. I love my friends.. I love seeing my friends and my friends used to be nice to me and they still are."

"A little nervous, but them getting back to school is better than staying virtual because it gives them time to meet people," said Krystal Cassidy, a parent.

The school is one of 32 in the Washington Elementary School District.

Despite a new state law preventing mask mandates, the school board voted to require masks indoors, like several other districts in Arizona.

Many parents were supportive because the children are too young to get vaccinated.

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"Why not? Let's start this year safe and not have to worry about this next year," said Korey Williams, a parent.

"I want it because he has allergies and better to be safe than sorry," said Cassidy.

Others are not sure how it will play out.

"It's hard to say. Because I want them to be safe and be safe around them, but them being kids, it's kind of hard for them to keep track of masks, so it's hard to say," said Resendiz.

Korey Williams was just happy to see his son walk back on campus again.

"Of course.. it's been a whole year.. get them out of the house. That's what they need.. to be around kids.. to learn how to communicate with their peers."

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

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