Updated on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Around the state, Arizona’s incredible and dedicated education professionals at every level are in various stages of determining ways to not only provide for the basic needs of many students, but also how to ensure learning and instruction continue in meaningful ways.

On March 27, the Governor signed House Bill 2910, an emergency measure that outlines the steps to be taken on testing, scheduling, and other process requirements as schools remain closed. Tuesday, March 31, the State Board of Education adopted emergency rules related to several provisions in the bill (more details below).

Here are highlights of the bill:

  • Beginning Monday, March 30, districts/charters are to offer general educational opportunities as determined by the public school for the duration of the closure or through the end of the school calendar year, whichever comes first.
  • Allows a school’s transportation fleet to be used for operations that support students and their families during the closure.
  • Requires each school to continue to pay all employees, including hourly employees, for the duration of the statewide closure, subject to some provisions.
  • Requires schools to make every effort to ensure that each student with a 504 plan or IEP (individualized education plan) has access to educational opportunities.
  • Allows schools to use money generated during the current fiscal year (FY20) to provided summer school instruction in Summer 2020.
  • Cancels the statewide assessment (AzMERIT) for Spring 2020
  • Specifies school letter grades will remain the same as last year, meaning letter grade assigned based on results of 2018-19 school year will roll over to this year. (SBE to take related action 3/31)
  • Removes reading proficiency requirements for 3rd grade promotion this school year (also known as Move On When Reading)
  • Directs the state Department of Education to apply for necessary federal waivers regarding food and nutrition, assessment and accountability and other issues that impact educational attainment that cannot be met in this current school year due to the statewide closures. (SBE to take related action 3/31)

As noted, the State Board of Education adopted rules and guidance to schools via an emergency telephonic meeting March 31. You can listen to the archived meeting and the agenda and materials are available online.

Specifically, SBE adopted the following:

  • An emergency rule regarding the minimum course of study and competency requirements for this school year:
    • Academic credit cannot be withheld solely because a student missed instructional time due to the mandated school closure;
    • In determining if a student meets the requirements, districts/charters may consider the successful completion of educational opportunities provided to the student during the school closure which may include independent study provided online or through printed materials and online instruction;
    • If a school is unable to consider or provide those educational opportunities, districts/charters may determine that a student met the requirements if the student had already met or was on track to meet the requirements prior to the school closure; and
    • Districts/charters are to continue to issue transcripts and diplomas to those who are eligible.
  • Districts/charters will be required to complete a simple form that speaks to how they are providing educational opportunities during the closure.
  • Hold harmless for schools/districts on accountability (school letter grades), including applying last year’s letter grades to the current school year.
  • Approval of the Arizona Department of Education’s formal request to the U.S. Department of Education to waive federal assessment and accountability requirements.
  • Approval of pending Arizona Online Instruction applications (these were due to be approved for use next school year, but in light of the school closures, these will be approved to be used immediately).