Arizona schools to close for the rest of the school year due to coronavirus
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Arizona schools to close for the rest of the school year due to coronavirus

From the Tucson-area coronavirus coverage from January to March: Nearly 1,300 cases in Arizona, stay-at-home order series
Centennial Elementary School, COVID-19

Fifth-grade teacher Sarah Lang and principal Kristy Dale look at student work remotely via Google classroom at Centennial Elementary School in the Flowing Wells School District, Tucson, on March 20, 2020. The schools are closed due to the coronavirus.

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Arizona schools will remain closed through the end of the school year, Governor Doug Ducey and state Schools Chief Kathy Hoffman announced Monday morning. 

Though campuses are closed, the remote learning that is underway must continue, said Ducey's spokesman Patrick Ptak.

The extension applies to Arizona district and charter schools, following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an announcement from the White House extending physical distancing guidelines until April 30. 

“Today’s announcement 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," the pair said in a news release. "These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures."

Educators and staff will see no disruption in pay, they said. 

Pima County Superintendent of Schools Dustin Williams says extending the closures, which began March 16, was the right decision to keep statewide clarity and unification. He said schools are already making huge steps in the switch to remote-based learning.

"We're definitely saddened that the day-to-day interactions between students to students and community and school is gone," he said. "We look forward to closing out the year and progressing together with remote-based learning to the best of our ability. During these unprecedented times, working together and being united is top priority."

On March 27, Ducey signed legislation to support schools during closures, ensuring school letter grades are held harmless, suspending statewide testing requirements, ensuring school days are not extended into the summer, and requiring learning opportunities for students to continue as a result of COVID-19.

The state is also working to launch Arizona Enrichment Centers, which will offer child care for first responders, critical healthcare workers, and essential public sector workers, including child safety workers.

Additional information about meals for kids, childcare, special education considerations, learning resources for families and educators and more can be found at azed.gov.

Private schools are required to remain closed in alignment with federal guidance recommending closures through at least April 30, 2020. 

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