Ducey signs bill to bring assistance to schools during coronavirus closures

Mar 27, 2020, 11:43 AM | Updated: 3:20 pm

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation on Friday to provide assistance to schools that are closed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

House Bill 2910 will give assistance to schools during the closure, provide clarity and flexibility on statewide testing requirements and school letter grades, give direction on make-up days, require learning opportunities for students to continue, and ensure teachers and staff see no disruption in pay as a result.

“It protects our teachers and prioritizes our students, ensuring kids continue to receive instruction even with schools closed,” Ducey said in a release. “I’m grateful to our education leaders, Superintendent (Kathy) Hoffman, Representative (Michelle) Udall and Senator Sylvia Allen for their leadership, and thank members of both parties for their unanimous support”

The bill also says schools will not be required to extend the number of school days or add additional hours to make up for days missed when  schools do reopen.

Starting March 30, schools will offer students general education in alternative formats while schools remain closed. It also extends the testing window for statewide assessments through May 31.

Ducey signed additional legislation on Friday that will expand access to unemployment benefits for those affected by COVID-19.

Senate Bill 1694 will waive certain Arizona Department of Economic Security eligibility requirements.

Under the bill, individuals who are not receiving wages due to their workplace closing from COVID-19 would be eligible for benefits.

Additionally, individuals who are self-quarantining and plan to return to work as well as individuals who leave employment to care for a family would be eligible.

Ducey signed an executive order on March 20 that would ensure people out of work because of coronavirus would have access to benefits.

Arizonans impacted by coronavirus could be eligible for rental assistance.

The state will get an additional $5 million to help Arizonans make rent who have been impacted by COVID-19, Ducey announced Friday in a news release.

“We want people to be able to continue making rent, while ensuring no one is forced out of their home because they got sick, someone in their family got sick, or they are facing economic hardship,” Ducey said in the release. “We will continue to make assistance and resources available so families can get through this time and get back on their feet.”

The funding is part of the Rental Eviction Prevention Assistance Program being launched by the Arizona Department of Housing.

“This assistance will provide some measure of relief for many renters, as well as their landlords, during this unprecedented situation that led to an abrupt loss of income,” Arizona Department of Housing Director Carol Ditmore said.

The program will launch March 30. Applications will be available on the Arizona Department of Housing’s website.

The assistance will be available to those who have seen a reduction in income due to COVID-19 and does not exceed 100% of the area median income adjusted for family size for the county.

Previously, Ducey  issued an executive order on March 24 to delay the enforcement of evictions for those impacted by coronavirus. That order is in effect for 120 days.

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Ducey signs bill to bring assistance to schools during coronavirus closures