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Arizona superintendent: Schools need 'adequate time' to reopen classrooms

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman
Posted at 3:45 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 23:55:12-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arizona's state superintendent is responding to Gov. Doug Ducey's latest executive order on opening schools.

The Republican governor's order requires all schools to offer in-person learning for its students by March 15, or after their scheduled spring break. He cited guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which would allow 12 of Arizona's 15 counties to reopen schools.

Democratic Superintendent Kathy Hoffman says her office and the Arizona Department of Education will "provide schools with the support needed to implement the requirements ahead of the March 15 reporting date," and is supportive of schools reopening in-person, but did offer some criticism of Ducey's latest order.

"However, the timing of this announcement will make it challenging for some schools that had already made plans to return to in-person instruction on a different schedule due to their local community circumstances," she said in a statement. "To achieve stability for our school communities, it’s necessary to provide them with adequate time to inform and ready their staff, students and families."

RELATED: Ducey: In-person learning must return this month

Read the full statement from Kathy Hoffman below:

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is supportive of schools using layered mitigation strategies to safely initiate or expand in-person learning, as Superintendent Hoffman said in a press conference last week. However, the timing of this announcement will make it challenging for some schools that had already made plans to return to in-person instruction on a different schedule due to their local community circumstances. As a state, we should be collaborating to provide as much preparation and planning time as possible ahead of significant changes to school operations. To achieve stability for our school communities, it’s necessary to provide them with adequate time to inform and ready their staff, students and families.

With this new Executive Order (EO 2021-04), our goal will be to provide schools with the support needed to implement the requirements ahead of the March 15th reporting date. ADE would like to clarify that Tribal Sovereignty is still in effect regarding this new order – if a sovereign Tribal Nation has issued a stay-at-home order mandating students stay in distance learning, the new executive order does not impact them.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Arizona schools have prioritized their school communities' safety and well-being. That is no different under EO-2021-04. The Department stands ready to support all schools as they foster safe teaching and learning environments.