More Arizona school districts approve mask-wearing mandates despite state ban

Tucson’s largest school district, in addition to a number of school districts across the state, have approved mask-wearing mandates to curb the spread of COVID-19 despite a recently enacted state law barring school districts from requiring mask-wearing.

The Tucson Unified School district board voted unanimously during an emergency meeting Aug. 4 to require that all students and staff wear masks on campus.


Officials with the Flagstaff Unified School District announced on Aug. 10 that the district's Governing Board has voted to require the use of face masks when indoors on school property.

"The mask requirement will go into effect on the first day of school, Aug. 11, and it applies to all persons while indoors and on school property including on school buses. Students, staff and visitors needing a mask will be supplied with one," read a portion of the statement,

Phoenix public school districts

In the Valley, officials with the Osborn School District and the Roosevelt Elementary School District said their boards approved similar requirements on Aug. 3.

The Osborn School District covers parts of central Phoenix, and the Roosevelt Elementary School District covers parts of south Phoenix.

The Alhambra Elementary School District will also require masks in group settings as well, officials said Thursday.

Additionally, the Washington Elementary School District is requiring masks for students and staff. Students may opt out, but a form must be presented by a parent or guardian to the school office. The district has nearly 20,000 students, most of whom are not eligible for the vaccine.

The issue was also discussed at the Creighton School District's governing board meeting on Tuesday. On Aug. 4, the district opted to require indoor masking, regardless of vaccination status.

The districts’ actions came after Phoenix Union High School District approved a mask-wearing mandate last week and the Phoenix Elementary School District approved one on Aug. 2.

Phoenix private schools

Brophy College Preparatory sent out a letter to families, stating that they will require masks indoors when classes begin on Monday.

Masks will be optional starting Sept. 13, but students and staff will either have to provide proof of vaccination or have to submit negative COVID-19 tests twice a week.

The tests must be done at a lab or pharmacy, school officials said.

Any students that want to take part in school-related activities outside of the Valley will need to be vaccinated as well.

State law bans school mask mandates

A state prohibition against masking mandates by school districts was included in budget legislation enacted in late June, but it’s unclear whether the state’s prohibition is now binding.

The legislation doesn’t take effect until Sept. 29, though it included a provision saying the prohibition is retroactive.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge scheduled a hearing Wednesday on a Phoenix Union teacher’s request for an order blocking the district’s mandate.

COVID-19 resources

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

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 Vaccination (In Spanish/En Español)

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