TUCSON, Ariz. — An emergency measure was issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services Thursday requiring all district and charter schools in Arizona to immediately install a mask mandate.
According to AZDHS, this measure aims to improve mitigation measures on campuses and buses.
ADHS has issued an emergency measure requiring district & charter schools to immediately mandate that masks are worn on school campuses, school buses & during school-associated activities by all students, faculty, staff, contractors, & visitors. #MaskUpAZ https://t.co/NRLDJwj6ms pic.twitter.com/z4JY0ZN4rJ— AZ Dept of Health (@AZDHS) November 19, 2020
“Keeping kids and teachers safe is one of our top priorities,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “This emergency measure issued by ADHS addresses the serious threat COVID-19 poses to our communities. It requires schools to implement the simple step of mask-wearing to reduce transmission and keep our kids safe.”
In addition, the mandate also says that schools must implement COVID-19 strategies based on school benchmarks, to keep everyone on school campuses safe. These strategies include wear masks, physical distancing, increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols, limited the size of groups, and increased hand hygiene.
“Based on recently released data, we now know masks provide more protection than previously thought,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS. “The new studies show that wearing a mask also protects the mask wearer, not just those around them. I encourage everyone to wear a mask whenever they are around people they don’t live with.”
This emergency measure comes just hours after AZDHS reported more than 4,000 new COVID-19 cases in the state Thursday and 19 new deaths.
For more information on COVID-19 in Arizona, visit azhealth.gov/COVID19.