ARIZONA, USA — Students and staff at Kyrene School District schools will now be required to mask up while indoors starting Monday, the district recently announced.
The announcement comes as the Maricopa County COVID-19 school dashboard shows the elementary and middle school district's community spread at high transmission. It also comes after the CDC released new guidance for schools.
"The new guidance allows students to return to school sooner following isolation and, in some cases, to avoid quarantine, but it requires face coverings," the district said. "It is the first change to quarantine and isolation guidance since the school year started."
The district's goal is to eventually make masks optional, but it is focused on keeping schools open for in-person learning first, the statement said.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) recently called the omicron variant “extraordinarily contagious” as the state has seen nearly 38,000 additional cases of COVID-19 and more than 400 deaths since the holiday season.
"I feel very confident that January is going to be a very pivotal month for us in Arizona," said University of Arizona Associate Professor and Researcher Dr. Joe Gerald.
Gerald said the combination of the delta and omicron variants spreading throughout Arizona has the potential to “rapidly escalate.”
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