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Framework towards reopening Arizona schools expected soon

Posted at 5:39 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 22:49:09-04

PHOENIX — For several weeks, a task force set up by the Arizona Department of Education has been busy developing what the agency calls adaptable and flexible guidelines for reopening schools. The plan will be ready soon. Providing the framework for what Governor Ducey described Wednesday as his "aspirational" hope to get children back in school.

"We're working with the education community, school leaders on a plan to safely resume school in the fall," Governor Ducey said.

The Department of Education is working with representatives from the education community, school nurses and public health experts to devise a plan for reopening Arizona Schools. The aim is to have that guidance in the hands of districts on June 1.

Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas said, "districts are going to be able to take those guidelines, and create their own local plan. To me, that's important because what works in Mesa may not work in Flagstaff or a reservation school."

On May 19, the Centers for Disease Control published what it thinks schools need to consider before reopening. The C-D-C says the advice should be used to supplement not replace any local or state health regulations.

"There is going to have to be a lot of flexibility left to where parents can see that it is safe for their kindergartner, it's safe for their 9th-grader, and the 9th-grade teacher or elementary school custodian see their work conditions are safe," Thomas said.

Arizona will need to reach Phase two of the C-D-C's three-phase reopening plan for schools to open. At his press briefing Wednesday, the Governor seemed to hint that day is coming soon. Possibly by the end of the month. Just in time to coincide with the Department of Education's school reopening guidelines.