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Most Arizona students will soon have in-person option, Supt. Hoffman says

PHOENIX – Almost all of Arizona’s K-12 students will have the opportunity to be back in classrooms by the end of the month, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Monday.

Hoffman also said she is “very optimistic” normalcy will return by next school year during an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.

“I would say by the end of March that almost 100% of our schools will be offering in-person instruction,” she said.

Hoffman said schools on tribal nations that have stay-at-home orders could be exceptions.

“But by and large, the majority of our schools across the state will be offering in-person, either starting today, starting next week or by the end of March,” she said.

A year ago this month, the state’s schools were shuttered as the coronavirus changed the way people went about their lives across the globe.

School didn’t resume in Arizona until last fall, with classes only offered online. Over the course of the school year, some districts started offering on-campus instruction again while others chose to stick with virtual models.

On March 3, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order requiring all public district and charter schools to provide an in-person option by Monday or when classes resume following spring break. Virtual options must also be offered.

About 60% of Arizona schools already were offering some form of in-person learning before Ducey’s order, and more were planning to do so as COVID-19 metrics decreased and vaccinations increased.

Teachers became eligible for shots early in Arizona’s vaccine rollout. Hoffman called the inoculations a “game-changer.”

“Most of them [teachers] have been able to get vaccinated up to this point, and so that makes it much more safe for everyone … to have in-person instruction again,” she said.

When asked if she thought things would be back to normal when the fall semester begins, Hoffman said, “Yes, I do.”

“I’m feeling very optimistic and honestly so excited that we’re headed in this direction,” she added, “and I’m feeling very hopeful, very excited, very happy for having more and more students and teachers back in the classrooms.”

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For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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