Governor defends unannounced change to school reopening guidelines

Governor Doug Ducey at Wednesday news conference./Pool photo/Republic/USA Today

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Gov. Doug Ducey defended a recent change to state health guidelines that loosened the COVID-19 benchmarks K-12 schools use to determine when they can safely resume in-person or hybrid instruction, saying the move was made at the request of education officials, though he wouldn’t say exactly who.

As first reported by ABC15, the Arizona Department of Health Services quietly changed the recommendations for when schools should switch back to all virtual learning.

In August, ADHS established three criteria to determine when schools should use virtual, in-person or hybrid instruction: cases per 100,000 people, the percent of COVID tests that are positive and the percentage of hospital visits that are for COVID-like illnesses. The recommendations for what kind of instruction schools should provide are based on whether the metrics in their counties indicate minimal, moderate or substantial transmission of the virus. 

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