Gov. Ducey announces Arizona schools closed through end of school year amid COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Doug Ducey announced Monday that Arizona schools will be closed through the end of the school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a news release, Ducey, alongside Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, said the extension of the school closures follows updated guidance from the CDC and the extension of social distancing guidelines until the end of April from the White House.

State health officials said there are now 1,157 known coronavirus cases and 20 deaths. Greenlee County, Arizona’s smallest, reported its first case, making it subject to Ducey’s orders for bars and gyms to close and restaurants to offer only takeout service in counties with known cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The restrictions now apply statewide with cases reported in all 15 counties.

Gov. Ducey and Hoffman released a joint statement:

“In alignment with yesterday’s updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures. We also thank our legislative partners for passing legislation ensuring all educators and staff see no disruption in pay. Our number one priority will continue to be health and safety, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make the best decisions for kids, families, and our school communities.”

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.