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Arizona K-12 schools to remain closed for rest of school year for CV-19

Arizona's public and charter schools will not reopen this school year, Gov. Doug Ducey and schools chief Kathy Hoffman ordered Monday, citing the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

They had first ordered schools to be shuttered starting March 16.

The extension follows updated guidance from the CDC and a White House announcement extending physical distancing guidelines until April 30.The physical closure of schools doesn't mean students are entirely off the hook: distance learning will still continue in most districts.

"From here on out our students will continue to use the Learn From Home curriculum that they are starting to use with their teachers this week," said Gabriel Trujillo, superintendent of Tucson Unified School District.

At a TUSD Governing Board meeting on April 7, Southern Arizona's largest district will set the grading policy for the rest of the year, as well as, graduation and promotion requirements," he said.

The announcement comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Arizona climbed past 1,100, with 20 deaths. Friday, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero issued a "Stay at Home" advisory and ordered all non-essential businesses in the city to close.

The move to lengthen the school closure is "intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn't the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures," the two said in a news release.

From that release:

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On March 27, Governor Ducey signed legislation to support schools during closures, ensure school letter grades are held harmless, suspend statewide testing requirements, ensure school days are not extended into the summer, require learning opportunities for students to continue, and ensure teachers and staff see no disruption in pay as a result of COVID-19.

That same week, the Governor joined Superintendent Hoffman to launch Arizona Enrichment Centers, which will offer childcare for first responders, critical healthcare workers, and essential public sector workers, including child safety workers.

Monday morning's announcement applies to Arizona public schools, both district and charter. Private schools are required to remain closed in alignment with federal guidance recommending closures through at least April 30. Private school operators have the option of announcing closures through the end of the year, or waiting for additional guidance.

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