Ducey: Schools to reopen on schedule in July after pandemic shutdown

Bus Maricopa High School
Vehicles line up in front of Maricopa High School as classes are dismissed. File photo by Raquel Hendrickson

School is almost back in session.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced Thursday that schools in Arizona will reopen in July.

“Get ready for school,” he told students and parents across the state.

Guidelines will be released Monday by Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. Input on that plan was received by school leaders around the state.

Related news: MUSD looks to next school year through COVID-colored lenses

Ducey said school leaders have sought a reopening plan with clear guidance and flexibility to meet the needs in their specific school districts.

“It will look different,” Ducey told reporters in an afternoon news conference. “It will feel different. Students will have a more routine school day, where possible.”

The first day of classes in the Maricopa Unified School District is scheduled for Thursday, July 23. The school board met Wednesday night to discuss a reopening plan for the district as new principals will take over at the high school and Pima Butte Elementary School.

Arizona schools initially were closed for two weeks in March, and then until the end of the school year, during Ducey’s stay at home order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

If social media is any indication, some parents are more than ready for in-school classes to resume and others are not so sure they want to send their kids back in July.

An unofficial poll on InMaricopa.com in mid-May asked the following question: “If Maricopa schools were set to reopen soon, would you feel comfortable sending your children?” Most respondents (49.5%) said no, while 43.3% said yes. About 7% said they didn’t know what they would do.

The governor also announced that youth activities, including summer sports leagues, summer schools and day camps, can reopen. Guidance will be released to allow youth sports to resume safely amid the lingering pandemic.

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