ARIZONA NEWS

Gov. Ducey orders Arizona schools to offer in-person classes by March 15

Mar 3, 2021, 1:24 PM | Updated: 11:41 pm

(Pixabay Photo)...

(Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday ordered most of the state’s K-12 schools to provide in-person instruction within two weeks.

The order says public district and charter schools statewide must offer students in-person and virtual options by March 15 or upon their return from spring break while maintaining practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“The CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and numerous health officials have said time and time again that schools are safe and kids can go back to the classroom,” Ducey said in a press release.

“We prioritized teachers in our vaccine distribution, and many have already received their second dose. The science is clear: it’s time all kids have the option to return to school so they can get back on track and we can close the achievement gap.”

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said the timing of Ducey’s order “will make it challenging” for some schools to comply.

“As a state, we should be collaborating to provide as much preparation and planning time as possible ahead of significant changes to school operations,” Hoffman said in a statement.

“To achieve stability for our school communities, it’s necessary to provide them with adequate time to inform and ready their staff, students and families.”

Hoffman said the Department of Education will provide support to help schools meet Ducey’s deadline.

Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, took issue with Ducey’s executive order, saying the governor gave school leadership the power to make decisions on instruction only to take it away.

“That’s why it was so curious to see the governor release an executive order via Twitter that in effect pushes aside all the good work we’ve been doing in every one of the communities across the state,” Thomas told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “He said here’s a date and time where we’re all going to be on the same page.”

Thomas was also concerned with requiring in-person instruction options to begin after spring break when many families will go on vacation and mingle with other people, adding some districts were thinking about temporarily moving to virtual or hybrid the week after spring break to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

“The governor’s executive order effectively ends that,” Thomas said.

Many Arizona schools already have resumed in-person classes or were planning to do so. The Arizona Department of Education maintains a tracker showing the learning model status at schools statewide as of Feb. 3. The information is self-reported and may be incomplete.

Ducey’s order also changes the state’s transmission benchmarks from substantial, moderate and minimal to the CDC standards of low, moderate, substantial and high.

The edict includes exceptions for middle and high schools in counties with a high transmission rate as defined by the CDC. Currently, Coconino, Yavapai and Pinal fall into that category.

Nine of the state’s 15 counties, including Maricopa, are in the CDC’s substantial category, and three are in the moderate range.

In counties with substantial transmission, middle and high schools will be allowed to reduce attendance to allow for adequate physical distancing.

Districts or charter schools that don’t fall under other exceptions can only close at the advice of their local health departments in response to a significant outbreak of COVID-19.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake speaks with reporters after leaving the office of Sen...

Kevin Stone

Arizona Republican Senate hopeful Kari Lake says she raised $4.1M in first quarter of 2024

Arizona Republican Kari Lake announced Monday that her U.S. Senate campaign raised $4.1 million in the first quarter of 2024.

47 minutes ago

Two people died and four others were injured when a car crashed into a wall and home in Peoria on A...

KTAR.com

2nd person dies as a result of car crashing into Peoria house over weekend

A second person died after a car crashed into a house in Peoria over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

2 hours ago

File photo of a Phoenix Fire Department hazmat truck. Multiple buildings were evacuated in Phoenix ...

KTAR.com

School, businesses evacuated because of gas leak near 27th and Northern avenues in Phoenix

Multiple buildings were evacuated in Phoenix on Monday after a gas leak caused a hazmat situation, authorities said.

3 hours ago

A promotional graphic for “The Marley Brothers: The Legacy Tour” shows Ziggy, Stephen, Julian, ...

Kevin Stone

The Marley Brothers announce Phoenix stop as part of tour to celebrate Bob Marley’s music

Fans of reggae legend Bob Marley can “Get Up, Stand Up” in Phoenix this summer when The Marley Brothers celebrate their father’s music.

4 hours ago

Photo illustration of cryptocurrency in front of price chart on a computer. Arizona has entered int...

Kevin Stone

Arizona enters into multistate settlement with TradeStation over crypto investment program

Arizona has entered into a $1.5 million multistate settlement with TradeStation over a crypto interest-earning program.

5 hours ago

Follow @kstonezone...

Sponsored Content by Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Gov. Ducey orders Arizona schools to offer in-person classes by March 15