Gov. Ducey State of the State

Gov. Doug Ducey delivers State of the State address. 

PHOENIX (AP) -- Gov. Doug Ducey says Arizona schools that have closed because of the pandemic must end virtual learning and return students to the classroom or lose money.

Ducey issued the threat in his annual State of the State  address on Monday. He did not say when schools must reopen and his aides did not immediately respond to a request for explanation.

While Gov. Ducey wants children back in the classroom, the guidelines set by the Arizona Department of Health Services show all Arizona classrooms should be in a virtual model. See the benchmark guide here.

Virtual Classroom Instruction Recommended

A screenshot from the Arizona Department of Health's website on Jan 11, 2021.

Ducey delivered his seventh and shortest state-of-the-state address since becoming governor in 2015.

In his state of the state address, Gov. Doug Ducey said if Arizona schools don't end virtual learning, they will lose money.

He spoke from his office, foregoing the traditional pomp and circumstance of a joint session of the Legislature. Newly elected members of the House and Senate took the oath of office amid unprecedented security following insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Read an outline of the State of the State address here.

Educators were quick to react to the governor's remarks. Superintendent Kathy Hoffman tweeted that that his speech ignored the reality of the worsening spread of COVID-19 and its severe impact on our schools, students and teachers. Her tweet went on to say that a commitment to fund distance learning is necessary, and that they key to re-opening school buildings is getting control of COVID-19.

The full statement from Arizona Department of Education is below:

The Governor's State of the State speech ignored the reality of the worsening spread of COVID-19 and its severe impact on our schools, students, and teachers.

In the face of enormous hardship and loss, teachers and schools have gone above and beyond to ensure students' learning continues amid school facility closures. To say otherwise - without a commitment to fund distance learning - contributes to the toxic environment where teachers, board members, and superintendents are harassed for making data-driven decisions. The harsh reality is that students and teachers cannot safely return to in-person learning while Arizona sits as one of the worst COVID-19 hotspots in the world.

The key to re-opening our school buildings is getting control of COVID-19. Where vaccines are available, educators have signed up enthusiastically. However, vaccines are not available for educators in all fifteen counties, and in some rural counties, the demand has exceeded the supply. While vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel, the raging virus impacts schools right now. We must do everything possible to suppress this virus so that in-person education is a safe and viable option sooner rather than later.

“The Governor's State of the State speech ignored the reality of the worsening spread of COVID-19 and its severe impact on our schools, students, and teachers.     

 

In the face of enormous hardship and loss, teachers and schools have gone above and beyond to ensure students' learning continues amid school facility closures. To say otherwise - without a commitment to fund distance learning - contributes to the toxic environment where teachers, board members, and superintendents are harassed for making data-driven decisions. The harsh reality is that students and teachers cannot safely return to in-person learning while Arizona sits as one of the worst COVID-19 hotspots in the world.    

 

The key to re-opening our school buildings is getting control of COVID-19. Where vaccines are available, educators have signed up enthusiastically. However, vaccines are not available for educators in all fifteen counties, and in some rural counties, the demand has exceeded the supply. While vaccines are a light at the end of the tunnel, the raging virus impacts schools right now. We must do everything possible to suppress this virus so that in-person education is a safe and viable option sooner rather than later.”

 

 

Morgan Dick | Public Information Officer

Arizona Department of Education

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