PHOENIX — Arizona schools will delay reopening for in-person classes this year until at least Aug. 17 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Doug Ducey announced Monday.
“We also want to bring as much certainty as possible for Arizona schools,” Ducey said. “We’ll continuously reevaluate this target date.”
The state’s schools usually open in early August, long before Labor Day. But a spike in COVID-19 cases in Arizona has made 2020 an unusual year: Schools are facing difficult decisions in reopening, including whether to offer in-person classes at all.
The state has more than 74,000 confirmed cases, with 3,000-plus new cases reported on five of the past seven days.
People younger than 20 make up about 11% of the cases.
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The announcement means schools will not be able to hold in-person classes until mid-August, but schools could offer online instruction before the reopening date, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman wrote on Twitter.
Ducey announced extra funding for K-12 schools last week to help with pandemic-related issues, but teachers and other school leaders criticized the move because it prevented schools from delaying start dates past early August.
In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Hoffman said she’d heard escalating concerns about reopening from parents and educators over the past few weeks.
“We were hopeful that schools could