Officials extend school closures to April 13

PHOENIX — Arizona children won’t be going back to school before April 13.

In a new directive, Gov. Doug Ducey and Kathy Hoffman, the state schools chief, have decided to extend by two more weeks the closure announcement they made just this past Sunday. The pair said they believe the extension is necessary to be sure that conditions are safe for students to return.

Gubernatorial press aide Patrick Ptak said that since the original two-week closure was announced, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out with new protocols to protect health. He said following these protocols would preclude schools from reopening as scheduled on March 30.

But Hoffman said the question of spreading the COVID-19 among classmates is only part of the issue. There’s also the question of who would watch the children.

“Staffing would be very challenging at this time,” she said. And then there’s the possibility that teachers could spread the virus among themselves in meetings.

Whether schools will reopen before the end of the semester remains an open question.

“Our goal is to get kids in the classroom as soon as possible,” said gubernatorial press aide Patrick Ptak.

“We believe that’s the best place for them,” he said. “We’re going to continue to reassess the situation in order to safely do that.”

Hoffman said she also intends to “keep monitoring and evaluating the situation.” But she told Capitol Media Services that it would not be the end of the world if schools did not reopen before the summer break.

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