Arizona closes all schools in state through March 27

Gilbert Public Schools
Gilbert Public Schools will remain closed coming off spring until further notice. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gilbert Public Schools will remain closed coming off spring until further notice. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated 4:02 p.m. March 15

Gov. Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced the closure of all Arizona schools from March 16 through March 27.

"The safest place for children during this time is at home," read the joint statement. "They should not be cared for by elderly adults or those with underlying health conditions, including grandparents and other family members."

The state is looking to assemble resources and forming community partnerships in an effort to reduce the impact of the closures on families.

Gilbert Public Schools announced March 13 it will close schools until further notice to support state and national efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19.


The district has been on spring break with students due to return Tuesday, March 17.

“Please be assured, we have been preparing for this possibility and continue to develop contingency plans as the situation evolves, with the goal of meeting the needs of our students and community,” Superintendent Shane McCord said.

Closed along with classes are athletic games, practices, performing arts events, school events, field trips, preschool, before and after school care, and facility rentals.

However, transportation for East Valley Institute of Technology students will continue as long as EVIT, which partners with the district on career and technical education, remains open.

The district said details about food provisions and potential online learning opportunities would come in further communications from the district and on the district website at www.gilbertschools.net.

Higley and Chandler districts

Higley USD and Chandler USD have another week of spring break remaining on their calendars with students not due back until March 23 in HUSD and March 24 in CUSD.

Both districts indicated on their websites that they remain in contact with state and county health officials, but neither indicated a closure of campuses.

HUSD on its website indicated it has activated its incident command response team in order to provide students, staff and families support.

Higher education

The Maricopa County Community College District announced March 12 that the district, which serves Chandler-Gilbert Community College, will extend its spring break to March 20 due to coronavirus concerns.

"During this time, Maricopa faculty and staff will be developing options for alternative forms of delivery for in-person classes," interim Chancellor Steven Gonzales wrote in a letter to students. "Options may include delivery online."

Park University, which has a campus in Gilbert, announced March 12 that as of March 16, all in-person classes will move online.Park University, which has a campus in Gilbert, announced March 12 that as of March 16, all in-person classes will move online.. Options may include delivery online,"

The University of Arizona, which has a nursing program in the Gilbert building it shares with Park, announced it will delay the start of classes returning from spring break to March 18. At that point the university will assess whether to continue in-person classes or move to online classes wherever possible.

Nearby Arizona State University announced this week that all in-person classes would move online for two weeks. ASU Preparatory Academy, the university-run charter school with a campus near Gilbert, is extending its spring break by one day, then transitioning to online instruction March 17.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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