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TUSD to strongly encourage students to wear masks

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Posted at 12:09 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 21:39:47-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The upcoming school year is top of mind for parents and students with concerns to safety. The Tucson Unified School District released more information on its back-to-school plan. A big part of the plan is a new learning option.

“The new school year will mark the debut of the Tucson Unified Virtual Academy (TUVA). As of [Wednesday], we have over 1,200 that have enrolled,” said TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo.

TUVA will offer students and families the opportunity for 100-percent full-time remote instruction. It's an option for those still hesitant about physically attending school.

“There’s no school district or school in Arizona that can mandate masks per House Bill 2898, prior to that, Governor Ducey’s executive order,” said Trujillo.

But he does say, though the district cannot enforce it, the official position of the district is to strongly encourage students and teachers to wear masks. Trujillo believes the governor not allowing schools to mandate mask use is a reason parents are signing their kids up for the virtual academy.

“We’re no longer able to do that, so I don’t blame parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their unvaccinated students into maskless environments. And with a school district powerless to enforce, what I think was our most powerful strategy for mitigation. For those parents TUVA is a viable option,” said Trujillo.

But for those students who will be attending in person, safety protocols will be in place.

“We will be physically distancing inside of classrooms to the extent possible. We will also make sure that hand sanitizer dispensers are inside of every classroom and every common area as well. We are going to continue offering antigen testing, rapid antigen testing, in every single nurses' office,” said Trujillo.

TUSD schools officially start August 5.