TUCSON, Ariz. — Local school leaders in Arizona will determine when in-person classes will resume.
That was the announcement from Gov. Doug Ducey and State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman at a news conference on COVID-19 Thursday.
The new policy will be focused around guidance developed by the state health department, which will recommend phases of reopening based on health metrics. Ultimately, school leaders will be the ones to make the decision, Ducey said.
The school start date will not change, Ducey said, with 180 days still required. Schools that choose not to resume in-person classes will resume distance-learning instead.
The governor and superintendent also announced a slew of funding for distance learning, high-speed internet for underserved communities, grants for teachers and other innovative programs.
The announcement comes as thousands of COVID-19 cases in Arizona are confirmed daily, though a slight drop in hospitalizations shows hope for a downward trend. On Thursday, the AZDHS reported 89 new deaths and more than 2,300 new cases as the total number of deaths passed 3,000.
Gov. Ducey also announced an extension to the closures of bars, nightclubs, gyms, water parks and tubing.