'Dangerous And Short-Sighted': Arizona Doctors Slam School Mask Requirement Ban

Published: Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 3:10pm
Updated: Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 7:33am
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Arizona lawmakers are banning most of the state’s K-12 schools from requiring students or staff to wear masks. But as COVID-19 cases rise in the state, some doctors are speaking out, saying the rule puts Arizona children at risk.

“The decision to prohibit these schools from requiring masks be worn is quite reckless, dangerous and short-sighted," Dr. Cadey Harrel, a Tucson family physician said in a call with reporters Wednesday. 

In the press call, doctors with the nationwide public health advocacy group, Committee to Protect Health Care, said masks should be required in Arizona schools for the time being since no vaccine is approved yet in the U.S. for children under 12. They said the issue is urgent, because new variants are making COVID-19 even more infectious.

“If policymakers listened to the science and the evidence, they would require masks in schools and, in fact, require them anywhere that people gather,” said Dr. Elizabeth Jacobs, a Tucson epidemiologist. 

The ban on mask requirements in public or charter schools was included in the state budget package finalized last month. Lawmakers are also prohibiting the schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students or staff.