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Arizona schools required to reopen to provide select on-site services

(AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher)

PHOENIX — Arizona classrooms likely won’t reopen on Aug. 17 because no county currently meets all three metrics given by Arizona’s Department of Health Services to safely reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

But school buildings must still reopen to provide meal and special education services, and other support services that cannot be delivered virtually, or for students that need a safe place to learn.

“The purpose for the on-site support services is to meet the needs of kids who need to be on-site to receive services during virtual learning,” said Kate Wright, Associate Superintendent at Arizona Department of Education.

In a webinar with local school leaders on Friday, she also said all students – including those with special needs – must still learn virtually until schools can go to hybrid models.

“They can be delivered on an A-B schedule where on A days, some students come to campus, and on B days, the same students are attending school virtually,” Wright explained.

On-site services also include computer labs, but they do not include daycare.

According to metrics released Thursday by the Arizona Department of Health Services, the communities of Arizona schools must show 7-percent positivity test rates, along with 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, and hospital visits related to the virus at 10-percent — if they want to reopen classrooms.

The numbers must hold for two straight weeks.

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