PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey lifted his executive order on Monday that mandated masks to be worn on Arizona school campuses.
School districts still have the authority to have mask requirements in their area.
Ducey cited new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the reason for lifting the mandate, but the agency website maintains that wearing a face-covering is the most effective method of preventing transmission of the airborne virus.
“You should wear a mask, even if you do not feel sick. This is because several studies have found that people with COVID-19 who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic) and those who are not yet showing symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can still spread the virus to other people,” CDC officials say.
Arizona Superintendent Kathy Hoffman derided Ducey's decision as a move that "destabilizes school communities as they end what has arguably been the most challenging year for education."
"Today’s abrupt removal of the mask mandate in schools is just one example in a long line of decisions that have resulted in Arizona’s embarrassing response to the virus that has claimed over 17,000 lives and impacted thousands more," Hoffman wrote.
Arizona reported 692 new cases and 0 new deaths on Monday, and nearly 4.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
Ducey has already lifted statewide COVID-19 restrictions, but cities like Phoenix and Tucson have kept their mask mandates in defiance of the governor.
Earlier on Monday, Ducey banned vaccine passports from being used in the state.
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