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State officials implement stricter mask mandate for schools

PHOENIX (KVOA) - Arizona officials issued a measure Thursday requiring district and charter schools to "strengthen" mask requirements for schools.

The decision comes after the state reported over 4,000 new coronavirus cases. It's the first day since July, the state sees the most single-day cases.

In a new release, Arizona Department of Health Services said that schools should "immediately mandate that masks are worn on school campuses, on school buses, and during school-associated activities by all students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors."

In July, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-51, which required all school districts and charter schools to develop and implement a policy to require masks for all staff and students.

It also required ADHS and the Arizona Department of Education to work together to develop the Guidance for Safely Returning to Schools, based on the Roadmap for Reopening Schools.

ADHS says schools must also implement COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

"These mitigation strategies include mask-wearing, physical distancing, increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols, limiting the size of groups, and increased hand hygiene," ADHS said.

For more information, visit azhealth.gov/COVID19.

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