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Arizona Schools Must Offer In-Person Instruction

March 8, 2021 by TWN Staff
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington. (Photo by Dan McCue)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order last week requiring public schools to offer in-person, teacher-led instruction by Monday, March 15.

According to the Republican governor, 12 of Arizona’s 15 counties are in phases where all schools are safe to open, including in the state’s two largest counties, Maricopa and Pima.

Exceptions to the order will be made for middle and high schools located in counties with “high” transmission of COVID-19, which includes three Arizona counties: Coconino, Yavapai and Pinal.

And students may continue participating in virtual instruction if their parents or guardians choose.

Ducey said during a press conference that he issued the order to bring clarity to the educational situation in the state.

“Many of our public schools are already open and operating, but with the CDC saying the safest place for kids to be is in the classroom, we wanted the folks around the state, the school leaders, to know we will be opening our schools having that in-person by March 15, and we didn’t want any confusion about it. Distanced learning has not been good for many of our kids,” he said.

Some school districts have already complained that the order conflicts with their commitment to offer only remote learning for the balance of the current school year.

But Ducey was unmoved by such arguments.

“There are many parents that are working parents or two working families. They need a place their child can go and learn and have supervision,” he said.

Currently, four states – California, Delaware, Hawaii, New Mexico – and the District of Columbia, have state-ordered regional school closures, required closures for certain grade levels, or are allowing hybrid instruction only.

Four other states – Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, and Texas – have state-ordered in-person instruction.

One state, West Virginia, has state-ordered in-person instruction for certain grades, and the remaining 41 states have left the decision to open, partially-reopen or to offer virtual classes only to individual schools or school districts.

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