Phoenix Union High School District Issues Mask Mandate, Breaking State Law

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Phoenix Union High School District (PXU) issued a mask mandate on Friday, in violation of state law. The mandate was issued three days before the district began its fall semester.

“We teach and trust science, follow guidelines and recommendations from health experts, and use health data to drive our decisions. The science is clear that the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 and known variants is to get vaccinated,” announced PXU. “In an effort to protect our staff, students, and community, PXU has a good faith belief that the following guidance from the CDC and other health agencies regarding mitigation strategies is imperative. Therefore, Phoenix Union will begin the school year on August 2 enforcing our existing Board-adopted mask requirement of universal indoor masking only, regardless of vaccination status.”

PXU Superintendent Chad Gestson said in a subsequent interview that science takes precedence over law.

“We’ve been faced with so many challenging decisions. And I think what’s been most challenging is that we are institutions that teach science and trust science and from time to time are forced to make a decision that maybe conflicts with state law or state mandate or an executive order in order to follow science and medical guidelines,” said Gestson. “We have said from day one that we would always prioritize the health and safety of our community.”

On Tuesday, Governor Doug Ducey reasserted that Arizona doesn’t allow mask mandates. The governor issued his statement following the updated CDC guidance recommending masks for all, even vaccinated individuals.

“Arizona does not allow mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports or discrimination in schools based on who is or isn’t vaccinated,” stated Ducey. “We’ve passed all of this into law, and it will not change.”

Ducey hasn’t issued a statement on PXU’s mandate as of press time.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

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