Today, Governor Doug Ducey, in coordination with Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, announced, through an Executive Order (please click here to access,) that in-person classroom instruction at the state’s schools has been delayed until at least August 17, 2020. 

Online instruction options will still be available earlier.

Other features of the Executive Order include:

  • The submittal of a distance learning plan for schools that plan to open solely as a virtual education institution by August 14, 2020.
  • Delaying benchmark testing six weeks after in-person classes begin.
  • An analysis into waiving the minimum number of instructional days for the 2020/21 school year to be submitted by August 31, 2020.
  • Existing child care programs will remain in place until the start of in-person classes.

With the surge in Coronavirus cases in the state, it became apparent that schools would probably not open, as previously planned, in early August.

Some districts across the state had already been planning for a later reopening with modifications to the annual fall and spring breaks to compensate for the lost instructional days.

Superintendent Hoffman issued a statement on social media, writing:

“Today’s announcement from Governor Ducey delays in-person instruction until August 17th but allows schools to offer distance learning per their regular schedules. In August, the Governor and the Arizona Department of Health Services will evaluate the status of COVID-19 and make recommendations accordingly. This will allow all of us to continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and plan appropriately.”

“In the meantime, the Arizona Department of Education will continue to help districts develop their distance learning plans and advocate that our schools receive all necessary resources to keep students and staff safe upon a return to school facilities.”

“What Arizona’s numbers will look like by August 17th remains unclear. But one thing is for certain: if efforts are not taken across the entire state to curb the spread of this virus, our schools will only continue to face complications in re-opening their facilities.”

“I urge all Arizonans to #StayHome and #MaskUp to slow the spread of this virus in our communities. Our students and school staff are depending on it.”

This is a very difficult time for all education stakeholders (children, teachers, staff, parents, and guardians) who are all anxious and want to get back to school.

However, the Governor and Superintendent made the right decision today.

It is better to delay the opening of the school year a couple of weeks or until the day after Labor Day or whatever, it takes if it would give the people time to successfully combat the surge in this Virus that minimizes the risk for children, teachers, and other education leaders for when they can finally safely return to the classroom.