This afternoon, Governor Ducey announced a series of statewide restrictions designed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 – including a statewide delay of school buildings physically reopening until August 17. Under this new Executive Order, schools may start the school year remotely before mid-August, but in-person learning will not be permitted until August 17. This is a target date which will be continuously reevaluated based on the most current public health data.
Governor Ducey will continue to coordinate with Superintendent Hoffman, the State Board of Education, Arizona State Board for Charter Schools and school leaders to address issues that arise from this order. The Governor has already tasked the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) with assessing the need to waive the number of school days required and the potential impact of such a waiver. ADE must submit their analysis to the Governor, State Board of Education and legislative leaders by August 31.
The Governor did urge school districts to continue meal service for students. The order also permits child care programs currently operating in schools to continue until in-person classes resume. Further, the order permits the benchmark testing required of schools in a previous executive order to be delayed until the first six weeks of in-person classes, and clarifies that today’s order supersedes any others if conflicts arise. Governor Ducey indicated that school funding and teacher pay will not be impacted by this order.
Before this announcement, some schools were due to reopen as early as July 20, with nearly all schools due to return to in-person classes by early August. This new Executive Order will undoubtedly impact decisions being made at the local level across the state. As the Governor called for today, we too ask for patience toward school leaders as they work with communities to safely reopen schools and support the learning needs of all students.
We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Please stay safe, stay home when possible, and #MaskUpAz when in public.