Governor says school will resume as planned for the next school year, releases guidance for summer schools, youth sports

Gov. Doug Ducey spoke May 28 to provide a coronavirus update. (Community Impact staff)
Gov. Doug Ducey spoke May 28 to provide a coronavirus update. (Community Impact staff)

Gov. Doug Ducey spoke May 28 to provide a coronavirus update. (Community Impact staff)

Gov. Doug Ducey said Arizona schools may plan to reopen as planned for the upcoming 2020-21 academic year at a news conference May 28.

Ducey also gave the green light to youth sports, summer schools and day camps and provided guidance as to how those entities and organizations can resume while maintaining health and safety.

"There’s more to do but we are heading in the right direction," Ducey said. "But it is a tribute and testament to the good citizens and common sense that I see everywhere around the state every day."

Ducey said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman will release guidance June 1 on reopening Arizona schools. The guidance is informed by school leaders, teachers, parents and public health experts from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

"We did a lot of listening. ... We received a lot of input," Ducey said. "[They are] eager to get back inside a classroom and to get to the front of a classroom."

Ducey said schools will be allowed to maintain distance learning where it is needed, but said the idea is that kids will have a more traditional school day where possible.

The governor announced an executive order to support schools addressing the need for flexibility in reopening schools and classrooms.

The executive order deals with flexibility, specifically, around the child care ratios for school-based child care programs, according to the governor.

The governor also announced a plan developed by the Arizona Department of Health Services that is designed to protect the health of children in school-based child care, while allowing from increased childcare capacity for school-aged children.

"They will be back to school, but it will be a new normal," said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Christ said for school districts like Chandler USD, which is scheduled to resume July 22 due to a modified year-round schedule, reopening as scheduled is the goal. Gilbert Public Schools is scheduled to reopen Aug. 3, and Higley USD on July 27.

Ducey said school district budgets have been part of the discussion of reopening.

"We do have some options, and we will want to make the proper decision so we can successfully reopen our schools for our kids, our teachers and staff," Ducey said.

Guidance for youth sports, summer schools and day camps includes maintaining physical distancing to the extent possible, providing and requiring adults to where masks when possible, providing access to soap and water or hand sanitizer and implementing disinfecting protocols, according to the governor's office, among others. The entire list of guidance is available on the governor's website.

During the May 28 press conference, Ducey also announced the appointment of Michael Wisehart to director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Since April, nearly $1.5 billion has been provided to serve more than 700,000 Arizonans impacted by COVID-19, with more to come, Ducey said.


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