Arizona gov. rejects call for online learning

Arizona’s Gov. Doug Ducey has rejected the state’s top education official’s call for Ducey to order public schools to use only online instruction for the next two weeks unless they have waivers from health officials.

Amid a coronavirus surge in the state, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Saturday that schools need a two-week “quarantine period” while educators and local officials review health data and decide what type of instruction is appropriate for their communities.

A spokesman for the governor said Ducey wouldn’t issue the order because how schools open is a local decision.

Arizona on Saturday reported nearly 8,900 additional known COVID-19 cases and 46 deaths.

Ducey, a Republican, and Hoffman, a Democrat, were aligned last spring when he ordered schools closed because of the coronavirus, but she voiced reservations later as he urged schools to provide in-person learning. Guidelines issued by Ducey’s administration during the fall let students remain in in-person classes beyond what earlier guidance would have recommended.

Many Arizona school districts in recent months have provided hybrid learning that includes both distanced and in-person instruction, while others either were already on remote learning or returning to it this month.

Many schools are set to resume classes in the coming week after the winter holidays.

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