Arizona’s Doug Ducey Signs Executive Order Reopening Schools In-Person by March 15th

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed an executive order on Wednesday that requires public schools to reopen for in-person instruction by March 15th.

If the schools have spring break planned during March 15th, they’ll be required to reopen after break.

More than half of Arizona’s schools are open and offering in-person options,” Ducey said in a statement on the order. “More schools need to follow their lead and pave the way for equitable education options for every Arizona student.

A majority of Arizona public schools are already open, and school leaders have demonstrated in-person instruction is possible to do safely,” Ducey added. “The CDC has laid out a path for every school to open safely. Public health experts nationally have spoken about the importance of getting kids back in school.

The order allows for parents to keep their students in virtual learning instead. Exceptions are listed for three rural counties- Coconino, Yavapai and Pinal- with elevated rates of infection of the virus. Arizona’s Indian country has been among the most hard-hit areas in the United States by the coronavirus.

Parents, community members and even students have clamored for schools to be reopened for in-person instruction after almost a year of COVID closures. Teacher’s unions have stood against reopenings in many instances, citing supposed dangers of the virus over the educational well-being of students.

Ducey’s executive order follows a new surge of reopenings and termination of COVID-19 mandates by Republican governors. Texas Governor Greg Abbott removed the state’s mask mandate on Tuesday. Arizona does not have a statewide mask mandate, although the state’s biggest county, Maricopa, does have one.

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