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ASU and UA will require masks in all classrooms, some outdoor settings

(KYMA, KECY/AP News) - On Wednesday, officials at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona both announced the schools will require masks in classrooms and other settings like labs regardless of vaccination status to combat the spread of COVID-19. The governor and ASU had a public spat in June prompted by the university’s decision to require unvaccinated students to be regularly tested for the virus and wear masks.

Ducey barred the ASU policy in an executive order, and the Legislature added it to the budget. But unlike K-12 schools, the budget does not ban universities from imposing universal mask mandates.

An ASU policy statement posted Wednesday said other settings where masks will be required include “close-quarter environments where physical distancing may not be possible,” such as facilities that serve the general public, meeting rooms, workshops, production and design studios and any indoor areas designated by posted signage.

“Additionally, consistent with CDC guidance, face covers may be required in some crowded outdoor settings or activities that involve sustained close contact with other people,” the policy statement said.

The three Democrats who represent Tempe and the ASU area, Reps. Athena Salmon and Melody Hernandez and Sen. Juan Mendez, praised the action. They said in a statement that with tens of thousands of students returning for the fall semester, university administrators must do all they can to limit the spread of the virus.

They criticized Ducey and Republicans who control the legislature, saying they “continue to block and oppose sensible public health efforts in order to score cheap political points with their party’s base with dangerous and deadly consequences for thousands of Arizonans.”

Article Topic Follows: Arizona Coronavirus

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Dominique Newland

Dominique joined KYMA in June 2019 as a Sunrise anchor. She was born in New Jersey but raised in Carmel, Indiana.

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