Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey introduced an executive order Wednesday requiring schools to return to in-person learning by March 15 or after Spring Break.
“Getting kids back in the classroom is one of the most important things we can do as we see COVID19 cases drop and vaccinations underway,” Ducey said on Twitter.
The governor noted that teachers have been prioritized for the vaccine in Arizona, and many school districts are reporting that the majority of their teachers have received both doses.
“A majority of Arizona public schools are already open, and school leaders have demonstrated in-person instruction is possible to do safely,” Ducey added. The [CDC] has laid out a path for every school to open safely. Public health experts nationally have spoken about the importance of getting kids back in school.”
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom also introduced a plan Monday to get students back in school.
The CDC developed metrics to determine whether schools are safe to open, and 12 of Arizona’s 15 school districts meet the criteria for reopening, ABC15 reported. Studies have shown that coronavirus transmission is low in schools and that with proper precautions, like mask-wearing, children can return to the classroom for in-person learning.
Official CDC guidance issued in February states that schools are safe to reopen with safety measures in place. However, teachers’ unions have still pushed back against plans to return to in-person learning, arguing that going back to the classroom is unsafe for teachers.