Mar 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Arizona governor orders schools to offer in-person learning by mid-March

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaking in Prescott in November 2018.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaking in Prescott in November 2018. Photo: Caitlin O'Hara/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) issued an executive order on Wednesday requiring schools statewide to offer in-person learning by March 15.

Why it matters: The order comes as governors across the United States are relaxing coronavirus restrictions despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the rollbacks may be premature.

Context: The CDC announced guidance in February that permits K-12 schools to safely open for in-person instruction and remain open if mitigation strategies are strictly adhered to and community transmission of the virus is low.

What they're saying: “Arizona’s students need to be back in the classroom," Ducey said Wednesday.

  • "More than half of Arizona’s schools are open and offering in-person options. More schools need to follow their lead, and pave the way for equitable education options for every Arizona student."
  • "We prioritized teachers in our vaccine distribution, and many have already received their second dose. The science is clear: it’s time all kids have the option to return to school so they can get back on track and we can close the achievement gap.”

The big picture: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said the state is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday.

  • CDC director Rochelle Walensky cautioned states on Monday that "now is not the time" to lift public health restrictions, as the recent declines in coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling."
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