UA President: Mask Requirement 'Not In Violation' Of Arizona Law, Executive Order

Published: Monday, August 16, 2021 - 1:10pm
Updated: Tuesday, August 17, 2021 - 7:39am
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Last week, the state’s three public universities announced they will require everyone to wear face coverings in certain settings regardless of vaccination status. 

But a new state law and executive order restricts mask mandates at Arizona public colleges and universities. Gov. Doug Ducey has called the universities’ new policies “toothless" and "unenforceable” and doubts they will stand up in court.  

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins pushed back during a Monday press conference.

"We are not in violation," he said, adding that the intent of the executive order, as he and others see it, was to prevent treating people differently based on their vaccination status. 

Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University are also requiring masks. 

“Following review of existing state law and in consultation with the Arizona Board of Regents, I’m pleased that we have arrived together at this joint mitigation step centered on campus safety consistent with the law," Robbins said. 

Classes start next week at the Tucson-based university. 

Signs will be posted throughout campus to indicate which spaces require masks, Robbins said. 

Students who refuse to comply may be referred to the Dean of Students office; employees may be referred to a supervisor. There will be an opt-out provision, Robbin said.  

In addition to requiring masks, Robbins said the university will conduct waste water testing as well as offer COVID-19 vaccine and testing options. COVID vaccines and tests are not required by the public universities. 

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