Arizona leaders decide schools won’t reopen this year because of virus

Mar 30, 2020, 8:08 AM | Updated: 1:41 pm
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)...
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s schools will not reopen this school year because of the continued coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman on Monday announced the decision to keep the state’s public district and charter schools closed for the remainder of the scheduled year.

They issued the following joint statement, saying the decision was made now to “give parents and educators as much certainty as possible”:

“In alignment with yesterday’s updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures. We also thank our legislative partners for passing legislation ensuring all educators and staff see no disruption in pay. Our number one priority will continue to be health and safety, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make the best decisions for kids, families, and our school communities.”

On Sunday, the White House extended its guidelines for physical distancing through the end of April.

After the closure announcement, the Arizona Interscholastic Association, the state’s high school sports governing body, said the remainder of the spring season and championships have been cancelled, too.

The Arizona Department of Education website has information about meals for kids, child care, special education and learning resources.

Monday’s decision doesn’t apply to private schools, although they must stay closed in alignment with federal guidance through at least April 30, according to the governor’s office.

Arizona schools were initially closed starting March 16 for what was to be a two-week period. That was later extended another two weeks, but with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 spreading at an increased rate in Arizona and the country, state officials deemed it necessary to cut the year short.

As of Sunday morning, there were 919 cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths reported in Arizona.

The statewide assessment for the 2019-20 school year was previously canceled due to the extended closure.

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Arizona leaders decide schools won’t reopen this year because of virus