A long line of cars creeps through the parking lot at Maricopa High School for this week's distribution of laptops for distance learning.


Maricopa Unified School District will come back to in-person classes Sept. 8.

That is the day after Labor Day and two weeks after Gov. Doug Ducey’s stated return date of Aug. 17. The governor is expected to make an announcement regarding the school year Thursday.

The governing board voted 4-1 to adopt the new date, despite possible repercussions from the state. Boardmember Torri Anderson held out for a later date at the beginning of second quarter.

Superintendent Tracey Lopeman said the current information from the Governor’s Office seems to indicate the district must still provide an on-campus area for kids, “a location for in-person learning as well so students have a place with internet connection and supervision.”

Returning to class later than indicated by the governor could cost average daily membership and funding.

“If we continue online past Aug. 17, we will receive 0.95 of our ADM,” Lopeman said. “We can apply for a grant to close the gap. That’s not a guarantee.”

Business Director Jacob Harmon said that would be the case as long as the district follows the distance-learning plan in the executive orders.

Anderson said she has colleagues in other districts that have had staff members die from COVID-19-related illnesses. “That’s why this decision weighs very heavily on me.”

The district is looking at options to fulfill the on-campus dictates, including Copa Camp and the Boys & Girls Club.

Classes start online July 30.