Phoenix Union High School District (PXU) announced on Thursday that the school district will require all students and staff who participate in sports or certain extracurricular activities to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
All individuals involved in the programs must submit proof of vaccination by November 1 or commit to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
“PXU’s promise to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, students, and families is unchanged,” Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson said. “We remain fully committed to what we call the Uninterrupted A’s: academics, athletics, arts, and activities. Requiring participants to be vaccinated or test weekly will help avoid COVID-shortened seasons and reduce spread during in-person learning when students return from their practices and competitions.”
PXU Families, please see the press release below announcing the expansion of our COVID mitigation strategies to include required vaccinations or weekly testing for coaches, staff, and students participating in sports and select extra-curricular activities. pic.twitter.com/X6C5yVFGQQ
— PXU (@PhoenixUnion) September 30, 2021
The move by the school district is not the first action to influence students and staff to take the coronavirus vaccine. Earlier this year, the school district announced its “Vax to the Max” program, which will “provide $100 gift cards to fully-vaccinated students and a one-time payout of $200 to staff who provide a copy of their valid vaccination card.”
Furthermore, the school district was one of the first to openly defy a state law that prevented schools from enacting a mask mandate. The mandate was issued three days before the district began its fall semester.
“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,” Gestson said at the time.
However, since the implementation of the mask mandate, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper ruled that the Arizona state legislature’s ban on mask mandates in the state is a violation of the Arizona Constitution.
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