Masks in school

Although Gov. Ducey lifted many COVID-19 guidelines for businesses and large events, schools still require masks in the classroom and during school-related activities and sports.

SHOW LOW — The city of Show Low issued a news release last week announcing additional hours of operation for the Show Low Public Library and the Show Low Family Aquatic Center. The change will take effect April 5.

Their hours will “resemble the pre-COVID-19 schedule,” and “certain programming will again be made available to the public,” stated the release.

The city began enacting policies to mitigate the effects and spread of COVID-19, June 1, 2020. Those were considered Phase 1. As the number of new cases and the infection rate of the virus has reduced, the city began making “adjustments to maximize the community recreational resources available to citizens and visitors.”

In accordance with Governor Doug Ducey’s executive orders, the city encourages citizens to “continue following social distancing guidelines, wear masks where distancing is not possible, wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, and stay home if you are sick,” stated the release.

More information regarding the aquatic center and library can be found at www.showlowaz.gov under the “News” icon. If you have more specific questions regarding the aquatic center or library, call Jay Brimhall at 928-532-4014 or email jbrimhall@showlowaz.gov.

Event restrictions lifted

As of Thursday, Mar. 25, many of the requirements for holding events with 50 or more people were lifted by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Mitigation plans are no longer required by the state. This also applies to the city of Show Low as well as all other towns, cities and counties in Arizona.

For the White Mountains whose economic health relies heavily on tourism and seasonal business, this is good news for event planners.

“We are excited to move into summer and all of the activities that come with it,” said Planning and Zoning Director Justen Tregaskes on Thursday, Mar. 25. “We echo the governor in recommending that businesses and individuals continue to follow safe practices and CDC recommendations, including encouraging the use of masks and social distancing.”

Mask-wearing and other precautions

Other changes will be clarified as towns, cities and counties across Arizona begin to re-evaluate how they will maintain the health and safety of residents while adjusting to the changes in executive orders related to coronavirus.

As the statewide infection rate lessens and restrictions are eased, municipalities are opting to encourage mask-wearing instead of requiring mask wearing when social distancing is not possible.

In June and July 2020, the towns and cities of Pinetop-Lakeside, Payson, Holbrook and Winslow enacted proclamations or policies requiring the wearing of masks or face-coverings.

Areas like the Navajo Nation where the infection rate had already been spiking had enacted mask or face covering requirements in the spring of 2020.

But a lot has changed since then.

On Thursday, Mar. 25, Pinetop-Lakeside Mayor Stephanie Irwin rescinded the requirement to wear face coverings in the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside to the extent required by the executive order.

Businesses are also in the process of lessening mask and face covering requirements for their staff and customers.

However, erring on the side of caution when it comes to COVID-19 precautions is still the underlying theme in messages from the Governor and Arizona Department of Health Services.

Governor Ducey’s recent actions do not apply to schools and school-related activities. Arizona Superintendent of Instruction Kathy Hoffman says that face covering are still mandatory in school settings.

Last week, Hoffman issued a statement addressing Gov. Ducey’s executive order relaxing COVID-19 restrictions.

“AZDHS Emergency Measure 2020-04 is still in effect, requiring masks in all K-12 schools,” stated Hoffman. “Masking is one of the top mitigation strategies for safe in-person learning, as recommended by the CDC.”

“Masks must be worn on school campuses, on school buses, and during school-associated activities by all students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors,” also said Hoffman via the press release.

Reach the reporter at

lsingleton@wmicentral.com

Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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