Gov. Ducey Rejects Arizona Superintendent Hoffman's Call For 2 Weeks Of Online Learning

By Austin Fast
Associated Press
Published: Saturday, January 2, 2021 - 5:14pm
Updated: Monday, January 4, 2021 - 8:15am

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman briefing the media on school closures in early 2020.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman is publicly asking Gov. Doug Ducey to order Arizona's schools into a two-week period of distance learning.

In a post on social media Saturday, Hoffman points out the state health department recommends virtual learning when COVID-19 case numbers, positivity rates and COVID-related hospital visits reach heightened levels. The latest data shows substantial spread in all 15 of Arizona's counties.

A spokesman for the governor said Ducey wouldn’t issue the order because how schools open is a local decision.

Arizona on Saturday reported nearly 8,900 additional known COVID-19 cases and 46 deaths.

Ducey, a Republican, and Hoffman, a Democrat, were aligned last spring when he ordered schools closed because of the coronavirus, but she voiced reservations later as he urged schools to provide in-person learning. Guidelines issued by Ducey’s administration during the fall let students remain in in-person classes beyond what earlier guidance would have recommended.

"This is a local decision," said C.J. Karamargin, Ducey's communications director. "The online option is already available, and the governor has repeatedly made his preference clear: Kids have already lost out on a lot of learning, and he wants schools opened, safely."

Hoffman's social media post points out there is a light at the end of this tunnel: Educators and school staff are among those next in line to get COVID-19 vaccinations. They're part of the 1B group, eligible for vaccines once frontline health care workers, emergency medical employees, and long-term care facility workers and residents are vaccinated.

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