PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The Arizona Department of Education on Monday released a list of guidelines for reopening schools this fall for the 2020-2021 school year. Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced on March 15 that school would close for a week because of the coronavirus pandemic. That closure was extended another two weeks. And then on March 30, Ducey announced that Arizona's schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year.

Last week, Ducey and Hoffman said schools would be allowed to reopen for the 2020-'21 school and promised that guidelines would be forthcoming. Those guidelines arrived Monday in the form of a 41-page document.

"There are still many unknowns about the future of this virus and its impact on our state," Hoffman said in a news release. "Still, the Arizona Department of Education remains committed to providing the field with as much guidance, support, and clarity as possible."

Here are some things you can expect:

  • Students will be screened before entering the building
  • Staff must have appropriate PPE when conducting screenings
  • CDC recommends cloth facing coverings
  • Social distancing should be implemented including desks spaced out
  • Physical barriers should be installed and physical guides such as tape
  • Assigned seating on buses and in classrooms
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Limited mixing groups
  • Staggered scheduled
  • Closed communal areas
  • Serve individual plated food or home-packed meals - no communal dining halls
  • Using hand sanitizer and washing hands regularly
  • Must wear cloth face coverings
  • Signs and messages in visible areas and communicating with the school community regularly
  • No shared objects

If students or staff feel ill, they suggest you to stay home. 

From a school stand point, there will be requirements to keep the school a healthy environment:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting as much as possible from classrooms to hallways to buses
  • Make sure ventilation systems are working well
  • Water systems are cleaned regularly
  • Leave and time off policies along with absence polices will be adjusted
  • A back-up staffing plan will be put into motion
  • Staff training for safety protocols regarding the virus

Ducey announced that schools could reopen in the fall on May 28 in a press conference. 

Student in face mask

“It will look different. It will feel different. But the idea is that kids will have a more traditional, routine school day where possible and safe,” Ducey said.

A few other things to note - field trips won't happen so it is encouraged schools to pursue virtual group events and meetings. Small groups will be kept together. 

A staff member will be assigned as a point person for anything COVID-19 related at that school. 

If you have more questions or want further details, click here


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