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Arizona Schools Closed For Remainder Of The School Year

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Monday morning that schools will remain closed through the end of the school year.

Ducey and Hoffman released the following joint statement:

“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.”

The extended school closure means students will have to use online or alternative learning methods to close out the year. The closure affects 1.1 million K-12 charter and traditional school students. Private schools could re-open April 30.

Before Monday's extension, Arizona schools had been set to reopen on April 13.

The school closure announcement hit some students hard.

“They were crying this morning when they found out,” said Beth Lewis, a fifth-grade teacher in the Tempe Elementary School District who has transitioned her class to online instruction.

Schools have been working to move teaching online or send packets home to students in low-income or rural areas who lack internet connections or computers. Under emergency legislation signed by Ducey, schools are freed from classroom instruction and other requirements but required to educate students in other ways.

Hoffman's spokesman, Richie Taylor, said some school districts are already offering online instruction while others are working to get homework packets to students. Tucson Unified School District, for instance, told Hoffman's office only half its 43,000 students have internet access.

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