In direct defiance of legislation banning vaccine passports and mask mandates, three major Arizona universities will require masks for students, setting up a showdown between the schools and the state government.
“All three Arizona universities said Wednesday they are going to require face masks on campus in certain situations, regardless of new state legislation apparently designed to preclude them from doing that,” Tuscon.com reported. “And more than half the Republican state legislators are asking Gov. Doug Ducey to withhold funds from schools who they say are violating a different ban on mask mandates and take the errant districts to court.”
Those universities include Northern Arizona University (NAU), Arizona State University (ASU), and the University of Arizona (UA).
The schools will require faculty, staff, and students to wear masks in “close-quarter environments where physical distancing may not be possible,” which includes classrooms, research and teaching labs, and meeting rooms.
The mandate applies to those who are vaccinated and those who are not.
“Based on the current health conditions and aligned with CDC guidance as well as our commitment to deliver in-person learning at the University of Arizona, we will require face masks be worn in all indoor spaces where it is not possible to adequately and continuously maintain social distance,” UA President Robert Robbins reportedly said in a statement.
Ducey’s office responded to the mandate, encouraging university employees and students to willfully get vaccinated.
“The law we signed is clear,” a spokesperson for Ducey reportedly said. “Gov. Ducey is not supportive of mandates or virtue signaling. Rather than creating new mandates, the focus should be on vaccinations,” saying they are “widely available and proven effective.”
Ducey is also dealing with Phoenix Union High School District (PXU), which also decided that it would defy the legislation’s rules on masks, and mandate them for students and teachers when school restarts.
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