|Monday August 3, 2020
Dear school leaders,
Across our state, distance learning and on-site support services have already started for our schools or are only weeks away. From the conversations I have had with principals and educators, I know you all work incredibly hard to provide high quality learning and growing opportunities for your students.
Arizona Department of Education is issuing additional guidance on Governor Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-51 released on July 23. As many of you may know by now, Executive Decree 2020-51 contains key elements that will impact the rest of the academic year, including:
- Full funding for distance learning, schools and families who decide it is the safest model of education.
- Requirements for the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to develop, by August 7, public health measures to be used by schools to determine a safe return to in-person teaching (information below).
- Statewide Mandate for Face Coverings in Schools for Students and Staff
- Clarity around the intent of the onsite support service requirement, as well as a waiver process for this requirement.
As with any decree, there were still many questions about how the new requirements would be operationalized, particularly with regard to on-site services, health and safety protocols, and the waiver process. Today, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) released new guidelines to further clarify and provide considerations on how to operationalize onsite support services. This guide describes the services that should be provided, recommendations for staffing, and the security measures that should be in place to protect staff and students. ADE will share more information on the waiver process as it becomes available.
Update on public health parameters
I also want to keep you posted on public health measures that are developed and published by the ADHS by August 7 at the latest. ADE and ADHS are teaming up to develop data measures and guidance for local education agencies (LEAs) to help them make decisions about returning to physical school buildings for teaching in person or hybrid.
However, I want to clarify that Arizona is currently unable to resume in-person or hybrid learning by August 17. As school leaders, we need to prepare our families and teachers for the reality that a school community is unlikely to be able to safely reopen for in-person or hybrid instruction by August 17.
Arizona experiences strong community spread in rural and urban communities, and students and teachers should not congregate in our school facilities. Further official data and guidance will be published by ADHS no later than Friday August 7, 2020.
LEAs can expect that upcoming metrics and corresponding guidance will be directly linked to the Roadmap for the reopening of schools. Using the scenarios presented in the Roadmap to Reopening Schools, I encourage all principals and school boards to meet to discuss the long term implementation of scenario 3.
Scenario 3– Significant local / community dissemination
- All students learn remotely from the start of the school year, with the possibility of returning to physical buildings if necessary
Thank you again for your patience, leadership, and commitment to serving Arizona students.
Kathy Hoffman, MS, CCC-SLP
Superintendent of Public Instruction