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Mask-Wearing Still Required in Schools

March 25, 2021

Dear Amphitheater Families and Staff:

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order today that loosens COVID-19 restrictions in the community. The Order takes away the authority for municipalities (such as the City of Tucson, Town of Oro Valley and Pima County) to mandate mask-wearing.

It does not, however, rescind the order requiring school districts and charter schools to require mask-wearing. Mask-wearing remains a requirement at all Amphitheater Public Schools and offices.

The order that mandates mask-wearing in schools is Executive Order 2020-51 (Arizona:  Open for Learning), which states:

All school districts and charter schools shall develop and implement a policy to require face coverings, such as face masks or face shields, for all staff and students over the age of five until the Arizona Department of Health Services determines that face coverings are no longer necessary or recommended to contain the spread of the virus.

Furthermore, the Arizona Department of Education has confirmed that the Arizona Department of Health Services Emergency Measure 2020-04 (Slowing the Spread of COVID-19 in Schools), also remains in place. This order states:

Each school district and charter school shall immediately mandate that masks are worn on school campus, on school buses, during school-associated activities, and while participating in or observing any school-associated athletic activities, by all students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors.

  1. Exceptions shall be made for instances when students can socially distance or are outside in playground settings with distancing, and students shall be allowed to take their masks off during breaks and while in a safe environment.
  2. Students who are engaged in high intensity activities, like running, shall not be required to wear a mask if it causes difficulty breathing.
  3. Masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  4. School districts and charter schools shall abide by other restrictions and exceptions consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including recommendations for those who have sensory, cognitive, or behavioral issues.

In addition, the new Executive Order gives businesses and public entities the right to make rules for face coverings in their own buildings.  This permits the District’s face-covering regulations to remain in place for school buildings, busses and activities.

Again, today’s action by the Governor does not change the state requirement for mask-wearing in schools. At Amphitheater Public Schools, we remain committed to following all health and safety requirements with the goal of keeping our staff and students safe and our classrooms open for learning.

Thank you.