Gov. Doug Ducey said Arizona law prohibiting mask mandates remains in place following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending all individuals—including fully vaccinated individuals—wear masks in K-12 schools.

Additionally, the updated CDC guidance recommends fully vaccinated people in areas with "high" or "substantial" levels of transmission wear masks in indoor, public settings.

"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 said in a news release July 27. "The CDC today is recommending that we wear masks in school and indoors, regardless of our vaccination status. This is just another example of the Biden-Harris administration’s inability to effectively confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health officials in Arizona and across the country have made it clear that the best protection against COVID-19 is the vaccine. Today’s announcement by the CDC will unfortunately only diminish confidence in the vaccine and create more challenges for public health officials一people who have worked tirelessly to increase vaccination rates."

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman called on Ducey in a statement July 27 to follow the guidance of public health experts and "give schools back their local decision-making authority to set policies for safe in-person instruction."

"I encourage teachers, administrators, and families to listen to the CDC and take individual action to keep themselves and each other safe by wearing a mask during in-person school," Hoffman said in the statement. "Students, teachers, and parents are ready to get back to in-person learning, but it takes all of us."

Chandler USD, Higley USD and Gilbert Public Schools do not have mandatory mask policies in place for the start of this school year. During a governing board meeting July 27, GPS Superintendent Shane McCord said the district will continue to follow state law regarding mask mandates.

“I want to make sure everyone understands that, when the debate of mask or no masks comes up, this is what we’re sitting on,” McCord said. “This is an order. This is the law passed by the state. We are going to follow those things.”