Recall petitions filed for Scottsdale Unified School District board members who voted in favor of mask mandate

The Scottsdale Unified School District put a mask mandate in place last week after a surge of COVID-19 in its schools, but some unhappy residents are fighting back.

Petitions to recall four of the district's governing board members – Patty Beckman, Jann-Michael Greenburg, Julie Cieniawski, and Libby Hart-Wells – have been filed. All four voted in favor of the mask mandate have been filed.

The vote on the mask mandate took place just days after the district announced more than three dozen confirmed cases on its campuses. More than 600 students were quarantined because of close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The district warned that the surge in cases could result in schools returning to online learning.

The petitions claim the board members violated parents' rights and "put the physical and mental health of students at risk."

The petitions must collect 20,935 valid signatures by 5 p.m. on Dec. 18.

This isn't the only attempted recall by parents against board members in Maricopa County as there are currently recall efforts active against board members in the Peoria, Liberty, and Litchfield Elementary Unified School Districts.

LIST: Arizona school districts with mask requirements

Attempts to recall board members in the Paradise Valley Unified School District failed to qualify last fall.

Mask mandates in schools will stay in effect until Sept. 29 when a new Arizona law banning schools from requiring masks goes into effect.

RELATED: Mask mandate showdown: AZ governor says 'Leave the schools to the states; that's how the Constitution reads'

Arizona health officials on Sunday reported more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases and an additional three deaths as a surge driven by the delta variant continued for the sixth week.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

Changes put in place for board meeting

The district is making changes to its procedures when the governing board meets on Aug. 24.

In a letter to parents, the district said the meeting will be in-person at 6 p.m. at Coronado High School. Staff members who need to address specific agenda items will be allowed in the meeting room, but the public will not be allowed in until the public comment section of the meeting begins.

Once that happens, only one person at a time will be allowed inside to address the board – masks will be required.

The district said it has changed the way the meetings are held after speaking with Scottsdale Police about past meetings. Last week, one person was arrested during a protest outside the district's headquarters while the board met virtually.

Back in May, the board recessed its meeting after members of the public refused to wear masks as required. The district said at the time that many of the people who caused a disruption were not from Scottsdale.

Social media chatter suggests that same group of people may be at Tuesday night's meeting.

The meeting can also be watched on the district's YouTube channel.

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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

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

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