Phoenix teacher sues school district over mask mandate

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Arguments began today over whether a Phoenix school district can require people to wear masks, even though Arizona governor Doug Ducey signed a state law banning mask mandates in schools, CNN reported. Douglas Hester, a teacher at Phoenix Union High School, filed a lawsuit Monday against the Phoenix Union High School District and superintendent Chad Gestson, requesting that the court declare the district’s mask policy contrary to the law.

“No school district is above the law, and we are pleased to take action on behalf of this brave teacher to ensure government bodies follow state law,” Hester’s attorney, Alexander Kolodin, said in a statement.

Yesterday, another Arizona school district, Phoenix Elementary, approved a mandatory mask rule for students, staff, and visitors to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We know that our children learn best in person, and we will implement mitigation strategies that help to minimize the spread of illnesses, reduce the need for quarantining, and avoid classroom and school closures,” a district statement said.

Meanwhile, virus-related hospitalizations in Arizona have more than doubled over the past month, according to data reported Tuesday on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Ducey released a statement after the CDC reversed its recommendation on vaccinated people wearing masks. They recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.

“Arizona does not allow mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, or discrimination in schools based on who is or isn’t vaccinated. We’ve passed all of this into law, and it will not change,” Ducey commented.