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TUSD recommends COVID-19 protocols, procedures for upcoming school year

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TUCSON (KVOA) - The first day of school for Tucson Unified School District is Aug. 5, however, as COVID-19 cases rise in Arizona, the TUSD governing board made it clear Tuesday night the pandemic is not over.

The district and the school board set forth virus-related guidelines to try and begin what they hope is a safe, successful year.

The district cannot mandate teachers, staff and students to take certain actions because TUSD is limited by state law. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently signed HB 2898, which bars cities, counties, and local school districts from requiring masks.

On Tuesday, the board strongly recommending that students, teachers and staff wear masks indoors at school regardless of vaccination status. This follows the latest guidance from the American Association of Pediatrics.

Some other classroom recommendations include hand washing and using hand sanitizer often, physically distance as much as possible, air purifiers in every classroom and staff will clean and disinfect high touch areas at least once a day.

The district will allow field trips in and out of the city this year and food will still be pre-packaged for all meals.

Board member and Pima County Supervisor Adelita Grijalva tells News 4 Tucson it's critical for children to be physically in school this coming year, but she says it's very important to limit the number of people on campus during the day.

"We are still in the middle of a pandemic. Numbers are increasing and I think it's a big concern for our community," Grijalva said. "We still have to look at crowd control and limiting the campus to those who are there either to teach, work or learn."

Parents and families can still choose all virtual instruction, and Grijalva says so far 1,200 students have chosen that option. There are more than 40,000 students in the district.

"We are not able to limit the enrollment or attendance for families and students that have requested live or in-person instruction, so we're going to be very limited on the physical distancing that's going to happen," Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said.

The district can't mandate masking up because they can't ask employees to violate state law, but some board members want signs posted up on school campuses strongly recommending masks for everyone indoors.

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Eric Fink

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