With COVID-19 numbers rising dramatically in our state, Governor Doug Ducey announced Monday that in-person school instruction will be delayed until at least Aug. 17.
“We will be continuously be reevaluating this target date,” Ducey said during the afternoon press conference. “Of course our objective is to educate our kids as best as possible in the safest environment.”
Schools will be able to offer distance learning before that, based on their regular academic calendars. The Arizona Department of Education is working to provide updated guidance to districts and charter schools.
“What Arizona’s numbers will look like by August 17th remains unclear,” said Kathy Hoffman, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, on Twitter. “But one thing is for certain: if efforts are not taken across the entire state to curb the spread of this virus, our schools will only continue to face complications in reopening their facilities.”
The governor’s Executive Order also closed bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks and river tubing. Large gatherings of 50 or more people are prohibited and no new special-event licenses will be issued by the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control.
Groups of 10 or more are prohibited from congregating in or near public pools, including pools at apartments, condos and multi-housing units.
“We have got to slow and contain this spread,” the governor said.
The measures took effect at 8 p.m. today, Monday, June 29 and will be in effect for one month.
“You are truly safer at home,” said Arizona Department of Health Safety Director Dr. Cara Christ. She urged Arizonans to consider the following before heading out:
- How many people will you be interacting with? (The higher the number the greater your risk.)
- Will the situation allow for physical distancing? (The closer you are to other the people, the higher your risk.)
- Will the people you see be wearing cloth face coverings? (Masks reduce the spread of the virus.)
- Do you know the people you will see? (Engaging with people you do not know raises your risk.)
- Will you be indoors or outdoors? (Being indoors increases your risk.)
- How long will you be interacting with others? (The longer you interactive with someone, especially in close proximity, the greater your risk.)
With the 4th of July holiday weekend looming, Christ said, “We are asking that you celebrate within your own households. If you do have people over, stay outside as much as possible, engage in social distancing and wear your masks.”