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TUHSD Issues Clarification Statement on Required Mask Usage
During the afternoon of Monday, April 19, 2021, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued Executive Order 2021-10 which rescinded the portion of Executive Order 2020-51 which required school districts and charter schools to adopt policies requiring the use of cloth face coverings. Schools and school districts did not have any advance warning regarding this important policy change.
We know that the question of face coverings has been fraught with debate and we are providing this statement to further clarify our decision regarding the continued use of face masks/coverings at all Tempe Union High School facilities through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
- In his statement regarding Executive Order 2020-10, Governor Ducey acknowledged that school districts/charter schools were permitted to still require the use of face coverings.
- The most recently available guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Arizona Department of Health Services - PDF (ADHS), identifies the use of face coverings as a key mitigation strategy.
- The CDC’s guidance regarding K-12 school operations states that “All schools should implement and layer prevention strategies and should prioritize universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing.” (webpage)
- ADHS’ guidance - PDF provides the same language that a key mitigation strategy for schools at all levels of community transmission is the “universal and correct use of masks.”
- Additionally, TUHSD Regulation JICA-R outlines that “during an epidemic or pandemic when social distancing is not possible, cloth face coverings must be worn at all times while on any District property, in any District facility, at any District event, whether indoors or outdoors, and in any District vehicle” with limited exceptions. As we remain within the COVID-19 pandemic, Regulation JICA-R’s requirements remain in full force and effect.
The District is carefully monitoring community transmission metrics and trends. Currently, the District remains in a level of community spread that is categorized as “substantial” by both Maricopa County (webpage), and the State of Arizona (webpage). This is despite numbers that had begun to trend down several weeks ago. We also continue to monitor information regarding vaccination rates and variants within our community.
We all are hopeful that we are beginning the end of this pandemic and will see a return to normal for our students and families. As with any marathon though, having the perseverance to stay the course will get us through the finish line.
Thank you for your support.