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Gov. Doug Ducey, AZ Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announce statewide closure of Arizona schools

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Posted at 4:13 PM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 11:52:34-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Governor Doug Ducey and Arizona Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced a statewide closure of Arizona schools effective Monday.

According to the press release from Gov. Ducey the closure is from Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020.

Gov. Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman will work with public health officials to reassess needs for school closures and provide assistance.

Over the past few weeks and in coordination with public health officials, we have been in close communication with school administrators to provide guidance and be a resource as it relates to the recent outbreak of COVID-19. As more schools announce closures and education administrators express staff shortages within their schools, now is the time to act. A statewide closure is the right thing to do. While this measure will not stop the spread of COVID-19, it will bring certainty and consistency in schools across Arizona.

The Governor's office and the Department of Education are working to implement protocols to help minimize the impact of the closure for Arizona kids during this time. This includes; access to healthcare, nutritional meals, and sanitary precautions schools can take upon reopening of schools.

READ: FULL STATEMENT

According to the press release those directives include:

  • School administrators should make every effort to provide continued education learning opportunities through online resources or materials that can be sent home.
  • School administrators should develop a plan to continue breakfast and lunch services for Arizona students.
  • As demand rises on healthcare professionals and first responders, schools should expand child care programs currently available to ensure minimal disruption to these critical jobs as a result of the school closure.
  • When school resumes, school administrators should develop and implement precautions to ensure schools are a safe learning environment, including social distancing measures, regular intervals for administrators to wash and sanitize their hands, and guidance on how to properly and frequently sanitize election equipment and common surfaces.

Superintendent Hoffman says they understand the strain this will put on families, and working to fill those gaps:

The health and safety of all our students is our top priority, and we’ve worked hard to keep our school doors open — schools provide important services and many families rely on them for nutrition, access to health care and in order to do their own jobs. I am in close contact with school superintendents, teachers, and parents and will continue working closely in partnership with schools to ensure that our families needs are met.

Earlier Sunday, the Arizona Education Association called for all students to stay home from school due to coronavirus concerns.

Guidance will provided regularly to schools and educators by the Department of Education.