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Tanque Verde cancels school board meeting amid reports of anti-mask protest

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Tanque Verde Unified School District canceled Wednesday's school board meeting at the recommendation of the Pima County Sheriff's Department after reports of an anti-mask protest surfaced earlier that day.

Last week, Gov. Doug Ducey enacted a new executive order that officially lifted the mask mandate at K-12 school that was put in place in July.

As this new order allowed "K-12 school districts and charter schools still maintain the right to institute and enforce policies to mitigate against COVID-19 spread, including the use of masks," several local school districts, including Vail Unified School District and Tanque Verde School District, elected to maintain its requirement for face masks and coverings while on school grounds.

In response to the governor's recent order, TVUSD said in a statement that it will continue its board policy and board-adopted mitigation plan that requires “all persons, including, but not limited to, staff, students, vendors, visitors, and volunteers, shall wear a mask while on any District property, in any District facility, at any District event, whether indoors or outdoors, and in any District vehicle, including District buses or vehicles rented or leased by the District.”

With the district's governing board originally slated to discuss its options for face coverings during Wednesday's meeting, PCSD received reports that protestors were planning to gather at the meeting.

RELATED: Emotions flare after parents protest for Vail School District to lift mask mandate

Due to concern that these individuals would not follow meeting protocols related to mitigating the COVID-19 virus, district officials said that they were "concerned that (they would) be unable to conduct the meeting safely," prompting the cancelation of the meeting.

"We will continue to work with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to ensure the safety of our community for any future meetings," the district said.

On Tuesday, Vail Unified School District also canceled its scheduled meeting due to safety concerns after a large number of people who objected to the school's mask mandate arrived at the district office.

Prior to the meeting, those individuals rallied outside the officer.

After the meeting was canceled, the group voiced their concerns and demanded to speak to the board.

Officials said Pima County Sheriff's Department deputies were dispatched to the scene.

For more information about Tanque Verde Unified School District and its COVID-19 protocols, visit tanqueverdeschools.org.

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Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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