/ Modified aug 16, 2021 11:58 a.m.

Judge: School district can keep mask rule, at least for now

New state law barring mask mandates in schools doesn’t take effect until Sept. 29, judge says.

360 school masks Children at school during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A judge is letting a school district in metro Phoenix keep its requirement that students and teachers wear masks, at least in the coming weeks, even though a new state law bars such mandates.

Several school districts around Arizona, including Tucson Unified School District, have adopted policies requiring masks as the new semester begins amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases statewide.

Judge Randall Warner declined to immediately put the brakes on the Phoenix Union High School’s mask requirement, but is still allowing teacher Douglas Hester to continue pressing his challenge of the district’s policy.

Warner said the new law doesn’t take effect until Sept. 29. At least 11 districts accounting for 140,000 students and more than 200 schools have defied the law by imposing their own mask rules.

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