Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman today announced the extension of Arizona school closures through the end of the school year. The extension follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and an announcement from the White House extending physical distancing guidelines until April 30, 2020.
“In alignment with yesterday’s updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures. We also thank our legislative partners for passing legislation ensuring all educators and staff see no disruption in pay.
Our number one priority will continue to be health and safety, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make the best decisions for kids, families, and our school communities.”
Today’s announcement applies to Arizona public schools, both district and charter. Private schools are required to remain closed in alignment with federal guidance recommending closures through at least April 30, 2020. School leaders have the option of announcing closures through the end of the year, or waiting for additional guidance.
The plan mandates that schools offer classes in an alternative format, presumably online, so students could finish out the school year from home. It also includes provisions to ensure seniors in high school graduate.
Other measures outlined in the new law:
- “Provide flexibility” to schools in delivering education to special education students.
- Allow public schools to continue to pay employees if they agree to work from home or take a reassignment, if necessary.
- Allow schools to use funding from this school year for summer school.
- Require the State Board of Education to revise graduation requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.