NewsGetting Back to School


Mixed views on what should be done with mask mandates as schools open

Posted at 5:51 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 23:57:27-04

As the school year begins, parents will be the first line of defense against the spread of COVID-19. The legislature passed and the governor signed a bill prohibiting school districts and schools from issuing mask mandates.

For many educators, the decision is considered risky at best, but many parents take a different view.

In Queen Creek, school is back in session and their no mask mandate was greeted with widespread approval.

Despite COVID-19 infection rates that are among the highest in Arizona, parents are confident they know what's best for their children.

“I think each parent will take the appropriate action for the safety of their children. And if each parent does that on their own then everybody's children will be taken care of by people who care the most the which are the parents,” said Tyler Willi.

Willi is a father of two children, one started kindergarten this week and the other will begin Pre-K on Friday.

On Wednesday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said the governor and legislature were playing politics with COVID-19 in Arizona.

Hoffman said they were ignoring medical science and tying the hands of school leaders who are seeking to protect their students and employees.

“We're operating at school districts from the premise COVID is still dangerous and we all need to take measures to prevent its spread. Not everyone agrees with that and that is a problem,” said Chris Kotterman of the Arizona School Board Association.

According to his spokesperson, Governor Ducey has no plans to step in and allow school districts flexibility regarding COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

Every child deserves an education and parents can choose whether their children should wear a mask, Kotterman's spokesperson said.

“It's time for the governor to articulate what the public health policy of the state is going to be and it should involve all effective measures including masking when appropriate,” Kotterman said.

The governor says he's been loud and clear on his COVID-19 mitigation strategy, everyone needs to get vaccinated. On that point, less than half of Arizonans have followed his lead.