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Arizona school closure extended through end of school year

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Posted at 8:07 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 22:32:53-04

PHOENIX — Arizona schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, according to a Monday notice from state officials.

Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman released the following statement Monday:

“In alignment with yesterday’s updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures. We also thank our legislative partners for passing legislation ensuring all educators and staff see no disruption in pay. Our number one priority will continue to be health and safety, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make the best decisions for kids, families, and our school communities.”

The announcement applies to Arizona public schools, both district and charter. Private schools are required to remain closed in alignment with federal guidance recommending closures through at least April 30, 2020.

Parents, who have already been entertaining their kids during the de facto "extended spring break," are now facing a premature summer break.

"We are doing a home preschool where we are focusing on a letter or a color and doing a lesson plan," said Silke Winney, a mother to two boys. "We're going to try a Zoom date with his classmates so he can see them and he does miss them."

"You can look at it like this is crazy and this is terrible, but it's an opportunity for us to figure out a way to solve another problem," said Mike Clements, a father of three grade school students who are continuing their education online.

"One is on Google Classroom, one is doing some math work, and the other is checking email."

The school closure strikes a different chord with high school seniors, who are unsure whether or not they will step foot on their school's campus as a student ever again.

"I started crying I just can't believe it. I didn't get to say goodbye to anybody," said Danielle Rook, a senior at Pinnacle High School.

"It just sucks because they can't say goodbye to their teachers and friends and they've all been looking forward to prom and graduation," said Sara Rook-Shields, Danielle's mom.

In his decision, Governor Ducey cited the Federal Government's guidelines to close schools.