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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."

Go deeper

Mar 3, 2021 - Health

Education Department to hold summit on reopening schools

Miguel Cardona, U.S. secretary of education, speaking during a confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., in February 2021. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Education is planning a national summit in March on how to safely reopen schools, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced in a USA Today op-ed Tuesday.

Why it matters: By announcing the summit, the Biden administration is trying to depoliticize an issue that some of the president's advisers worry will hurt them with suburban parents.

Mar 3, 2021 - Health

Biden sends teachers to front of vaccine line

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Biden on Wednesday used the federal government to prioritize vaccinating teachers and child care workers, an effort to get kids back in schools, WashPost reports.

What he's saying: "My challenge to all states, territories and the District of Columbia is this: We want every educator, school staff member, child care worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March," Biden said.

Supreme Court likely to favor Republican-backed Arizona voting laws

A person walking outside of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 22.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared to favor Republican-backed voting restrictions in Arizona that Democrats argue violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The Justices' decision in the case could weaken Section 2 of the VRA, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race.