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Gov. Ducey reveals program to train Arizona teachers in online instruction

Joanne Collins Brock , a second grade teacher at St Francis School (Goshen) , teaches online in her empty classroom on April 15, 2020 in Goshen, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Gov. Doug Ducey announced a statewide training program to help Arizona teachers adjust to online instruction during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ducey unveiled the ASU Prep Digital’s Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute in a press release Thursday shortly before the state health department was expected to reveal COVID-19 benchmarks to guide districts in their plans to start in-person schooling.

The program is a $7.5 million partnership among Ducey, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, Helios Education Foundation and Arizona State University.

The free training for K-12 schools and teachers will begin Aug. 11 with a three-day program called “Thriving as a Digital Teacher.”

Sessions will be offered after school hours Monday-Thursdays as well as Saturdays.

Many Arizona schools have already started online classes for the fall semester.

Under an executive order issued by Ducey on June 29, in-person instruction can’t begin before Aug. 17. However, officials have made it clear this week that few if any schools in the state will be in position to meet the pending health department guidelines by then.

“At present, it is unlikely that any Arizona school community will be in a position to begin the new school year in the traditional, in-person, on-campus setting,” Hoffman said in the release.

“As schools look to begin the fall semester in a distance learning mode, they face different challenges. We want to give all schools and teachers access to the tools and training that they need. ASU Prep Digital already excels in this work and this new partnership will expand it.”

Schools were shut down for in-person learning on March 16, cutting short the spring semester, at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak.

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