This page contains guidance and resources for Arizona’s public district and charter schools as they navigate COVID-19 response. The situation around COVID-19 is rapidly changing, so please continue to check this page for updates and guidance. This page was last updated on Tuesday, March 31, 2020, at 1:38 PM.
Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman have announced an extension of school closures through the end of the 2019-2020 School Year.
During this time, the Arizona Department of Education encourages schools to continue to provide educational opportunities to students to the best of their ability. We will continue to develop and share guidance to schools regarding instructional time, statewide testing, provision of special education services, school meals, and more. The State Board of Education will meet on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 to discuss updated graduation requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.
Please visit arizonatogether.org for more resources for navigating COVID-19 for families, individuals, businesses, and more.
A Letter to Arizona’s Educators
To Arizona’s educators,
Earlier today, Governor Doug Ducey and I announced that the school closures for all district and charter K-12 schools will extend through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
Our number one priority is the health and safety of our school communities, and I am thankful for the partnership of our educators as schools radically shifted operations and procedures over the last few weeks. I know these changes have not been easy.
Once again, you proved that teachers are leaders. In just a few short weeks, your classroom – a meticulously created space for learning and community – changed. The lesson plans quickly looked different, the professional learning communities with colleagues shifted to emails and Zoom meetings, and meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of students transformed significantly.
Still, you persevered. I just have to hop on Twitter to see #ClosedNotClosed to see the creative ways that you have addressed this growing public health crisis. From delivering thousands of meals each day to students in all 15 counties to providing messages of hope via social media, videos, and sidewalk chalk, Arizona’s schools and educators have not stopped serving students and their families.
Every once and a while, an educator will send me a note to share a story of their students and how they are rising to the occasion.
One such story came from Blue Ridge Unified School District in Pinetop Lakeside where Lead STEM instructor Mr. Kevin Woolridge and a few of his students are using their lab’s 3D-printing capabilities to produce 325 protective masks and a prototype of a ventilator. This small team is practicing social distancing by working in isolation – but they are committed to finding real-world solutions to address the nationwide mask and ventilator shortages required to fight COVID-19.
I want you to know that your hard work during this trying and stressful time is incredibly appreciated by myself and everyone at the Arizona Department of Education. We are incredibly proud to work on your behalf in the service of students and communities. Our program areas at ADE are committed to continuing to support you, your instruction, and your students through this time period.
Finally, I want to encourage you to find a moment to take care of yourself. Despite all the work that must go on through the end of the school year, there’s no denying the fact that this year looks incredibly different. The abrupt cessation of regularly seeing students and families is hard. The passion and care you hold for each of your students is not easily replaced by distance learning. Please take a moment to look at these suggestions from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on taking care of your emotional health during a public health emergency.
Thank you again for your tireless work. Together, we will get through this.
Kathy Hoffman, MS, CCC-SLP Superintendent of Public Instruction
Clarifications & Guidance: School Closures
Updated on March 30, 2020
The Governor’s declaration applies to all Arizona K-12, brick-and-mortar schools, including district, charter, private schools, and career and technical education districts (CTEDs) associated with a K-12 facility.
The declaration does NOT apply to:
- Online schools and drop out recovery programs that have the capacity to operate remotely. These programs/online schools should stay open and continue to offer services to students and honor contracts with school districts.
- Daycare facilities and preschools, which are encouraged to follow all guidance by the Department of Health Services (see HERE). Families are encouraged to keep children at-home whenever possible and to reserve spots in day-care and other childcare facilities for the children of first responders, healthcare workers, and other essential workers.
- Adult education programs, although ADE has recommended all these programs close their face-to-face classes through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
- Educational programs offered in county jails and county juvenile detention centers. We advise these programs to follow their local county governing body protocols. This includes county jail and juvenile education programs run through county accommodation districts.
- Educational programs administered in residential treatment centers can choose to remain open at this time since no feasible placements can be made in the interim with involvement from a state placing agency and closure of other educational entities.
School closure is NOT a complete shutdown of school operations and instructional obligations to students. During school closures, staff are still expected to engage in work-related activities, and students and families are expected to meet the instructional requirements of their teachers and schools.
School leaders, teachers, staff and parents must work together to plan for continuity in education and critical services during this time. Specifically, during the closure, educators and community leaders are called on to:
- Continue to deliver educational opportunities to the extent possible through remote learning and independent study, which may or may not include online learning or printed materials, among other options;
- Provide school meals; and
- Arrange for the supervision of students during ordinary school hours.
Schools will continue to be funded as if they were in session and staff will continue to be paid. If these conditions are met, makeup days will not be necessary, and the Department is working with the Governor’s Office and legislative leaders to provide clarity in the law.
This is a fluid situation and more information on the implications of school closures will be provided through the Arizona Department of Education as it becomes available.
HB 2910 Legislation: School Closures
On March 27, 2020, Governor Ducey signed into law emergency legislation related to COVID-19 school closures. See our legislative recap for full details of this bill.
Key takeaways from this legislation include:
Educator & Staff Pay
A public school shall continue to pay all its employees, including hourly employees, for the duration of the statewide closure as long as employees: (1) commit to being available during work hours and (2) are able to perform tasks remotely. If an employee is unable to work remotely, schools shall re-assign the employee with other tasks they can perform.
The legislation allows schools to continue paying contract workers like SLPs and other therapy services. Contractors should talk with their contract companies and districts to ensure continuity in pay.
Schools are not required to extend the number of school days or add additional instructional hours after the statewide closure ends.
Statewide Assessments – (AZM2, MSAA, etc.)
Statewide assessments for 2019-2020 (AZM2, MSAA, AIMS Science, AZELLA, etc.) are canceled.
The U.S. Department of Education announced on Friday, March 20, 2020 that the federal requirement for testing is waived for all states. ADE is working on submitting a waiver accordingly.
Accountability (A-F Grading System)
The 2019-2020 school year will be a “hold harmless” year. For the 2019-2020 school year, a public school’s letter grade will be the same as their 2018-2019 letter grade.
ADE will be seeking a waiver for the requirement that a State annually meaningfully differentiate all public schools and for the requirements to identify schools for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) based on the 2019-2020 school year. Schools currently identified as CSI and TSI will remain for the 2020-2021 school year.
During the 2019-2020 school year, public schools may deviate from the statutory requirements relating to special education programs. Public schools shall attempt to ensure that each student who has a section 504 plan or who receives special education services through an individualized education program (IEP) has access to these educational opportunities. For more information on providing special education services during school closures, visit our Special Education COVID-19 webpage.
Deviations from statutory requirements must align with federal IDEA guidance. FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) must be determined on an individual basis. Compensatory education may need to be provided if the circumstances do not allow the provision of FAPE to an individual student.
As this dynamic situation evolves, ADE will continue to review all flexibility allowed under state and federal law.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction, with the approval of SBE, has the authority to waive any school finance requirement necessary for school finance matters related to the 2019-2020 school year only.
High School Graduation
Awarding Academic Credit & High School Diplomas
The State Board of Education adopted emergency rules (see below) regarding the issuance of academic credit and high school diplomas for the 2019-2020 school year.
When deciding how to award academic credit and high school diplomas, schools should first base the decisions on the entire school year, including any educational opportunities provided during closures. School districts and charter schools determine what the educational opportunities are and how they are delivered. Examples may include independent study and online instruction.
If schools are unable to provide educational opportunities during the closure, then schools may look to the student’s progress prior to the closure. Specifically, if the student already met the competency requirements for the course or was on track to graduate prior to the closure, then the school may award the credit or diploma. How to make this determination is at the discretion of the school district or charter school.
Regarding the Civics Test Graduation Requirement, students are still required by statute to receive a 60% or better on the Civics Test. As a reminder, students may take the assessment in a form and manner determined by the school district or charter school. Schools should not withhold diplomas from a student that is unable to take the assessment due to barriers created by the public health emergency.
These rules are intended to clarify pathways to award credit and diplomas as the result of the closures. Schools retain the authority to decide whether to issue diplomas or credit to students. However, schools may not base these decisions solely due to missed instructional time as the result of the closure.
See the Board Rules
R7-2-302.11 Minimum Course of Study and Competency Requirements Public Health Emergency in the 2019-2020 school year
- Notwithstanding any other rule, local education agencies shall not withhold academic credit or a high school diploma from a student solely because the student missed instructional time due to a school closure issued by the Governor.
- Notwithstanding any other rule, when determining if a student meets the minimum course of study and competency requirements pursuant to Article 3 in a school year that the Governor issues a school closure, local education agencies may consider the successful completion of educational opportunities provided to the student during the school closure. Educational opportunities are determined by the local education agency and may include, but are not limited to, the following: 1. Independent study provided online or through printed materials; and 2. Online instruction.
- If a local education agency is unable to consider or unable to provide the educational opportunities pursuant to subsection B, the local education agency may determine the student meets the minimum course of study and competency requirements if the student met or was on track to meet the minimum course of study and competency requirements prior to the school closure. Evidence that a student was on track to meet the minimum course of study and competency requirements is determined by the local education agency and may include, but is not limited to, passing grades issued by the student’s teacher or passing scores on locally or nationally administered assessments. It is the intent of the Board that all schools attempt, to the extent possible, to provide educational opportunities to students during a school closure issued by the Governor.
- Local education agencies that issue academic credit and high school diplomas to students pursuant to subsections B and C shall issue transcripts and diplomas to students in the same manner as the local education agency would if there was not a school closure issued by the Governor.
- This section applies only to the 2019-2020 school year and the graduating class of 2020
Remote School Learning Opportunity Plan
Form: Remote School Learning Opportunity Plan
HB 2910 requires local education agencies (LEA) to offer educational opportunities, as determined by the LEA, during the school closure in order to receive continued formula funding. The Board and ADE are required to adopt the manner in which LEAs attest to providing educational opportunities.
To accomplish this, LEAs must do the following by April 15, 2020:
- Fill out a form for each school or LEA.
- On the form, LEAs will attest to the educational opportunities they are providing to students via a signature by the LEA’s superintendent, school leader or their designee.
The Remote School Learning Opportunity Plan form can be accessed here:
Following the end of the school year, the Board will follow-up with schools on the Plans submitted. For questions on completing the form, please contact Board staff at [email protected] or (602) 542-5057.
Webinars for School Leaders
Wednesday, March 25: Legislative & Budgets Updates
- Click here to watch the March 25th recording of the Legislative & Budget Updates webinar.
- Click here to download the presentation slides in-full.
- Click here to download the slides regarding Special Education guidance.
Tuesday, March 17: COVID-19 School Guidance Webinar*
- Click here to watch the March 17th recording of the COVID-19 Guidance Webinar.
- Click here to download the presentation slides in-full.*
*Please note that some guidance and timelines have been updated since the March 17th webinar. Please review each tab on this web-page to find the most up-to-date information.
School districts must comply with state law and continue adhering to state procurement rules while navigating the practical challenges presented by COVID-19. School districts are advised to review the Guidance to Schools on COVID-19 and Pandemic Preparedness Guidance to Schools, which ADE issued to support district and charter leadership during the current pandemic.
As relevant here, “[s]chool closure is NOT a complete shutdown of school operations” and “staff are still expected to engage in work-related activities” during school closure. See ADE, School Closures: Clarifications and Guidance (updated March 20, 2020).
Read the informal opinion here.
For emergency procurement guidelines, click HERE.
In partnership with the AZ Health Zone, meal service locations can be accessed here through a mapping tool. Enter your zip code to find locations near you. This map is updated daily and includes the site addresses and times of operations. The same information is also accessed by texting the word FOOD to 877877. NOTE: This map does not reflect the total number of schools that are offering school meals at this time. For a complete list, visit our School Meal Sites.
The School Meal Sites is a continually updated list of districts, charters, and non-profit organizations that have submitted to ADE their Intent to Operate a school meals program for individuals under the age of 18 and/or students with disabilities who are enrolled in schools but over 18 and under the age of 21. If the adult person with disabilities is not enrolled in school, that person could receive meals if the person is enrolled in an adult daycare facility that is operating the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
The Arizona Department of Education is working with schools that intend to continue their meal service programs for children during the time schools are closed due to COVID-19. ADE has received approval from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to waive the congregate meal requirement of the meal service programs. Your school may be eligible to offer School Meals during closures even if it does not currently utilize the Summer Food Service Program.
Current Guidance for Operating a meal service program during a COVID-19 school closures:
- HNS 09-2020, this includes “How to Apply” and updates on bus routes
- HNS 14-2020, includes information on Child and Adult Care Food Program
- Meal Delivery, Home-Delivery, and Distance Learning
On March 14, 2020, FNS granted ADE’s request for non-congregate feeding, as well ADE’s request to serve meals at school sites through the SSO and SFSP during unanticipated school closures associated with the novel coronavirus.
Additionally, ADE submitted wavier requests for CACFP sponsors operating the At-Risk Afterschool Meals program. Once granted, the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program will be permitted to operate under a non-congregate distribution model and forego the enrichment activity which is currently required.
Sponsors should continue operating normally until these waivers are approved, at which time, ADE will provide additional guidance for how to request use of this waiver at At-Risk Afterschool Meals.
Educator and Family Resources
Virtual & Online Learning
The Arizona Department of Education’s Virtual Learning Hub is a resource for teachers and families to assist them as they plan for non-traditional instruction and should be used with discretion and in the way that best fits with their school/district curricula. This is a living document that will be updated frequently.
Title IV-A Online Learning and Enrichment is a resource hub for teachers and families to assist them as they plan for non-traditional instruction and should be used with discretion and in the way that best fits with their school/district curricula. The resources include PE, Health, Arts, Virtual Field Trips, Teacher PD, Connectivity Resources, and Podcasts.
Note: Any reference obtained from this site to a specific product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the ADE of the product, process, or service, or its producer or provider. The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of ADE.
For a continually updated list of districts, charters, and non-profit organizations who have submitted to ADE their Intent to Operate a school meals program for individuals under the age of 18 please visit:
Wifi & Broadband
During this time of uncertainty and required in-home learning, we are compiling resources to help families access WiFi and broadband.
- Arizona Broadband for Education has compiled a list of WiFi providers, drive-up WiFi spots, and more.
- Cox is helping get families in need connected to the internet through their Connect2Compete program.
- Yavapai County has put together a map of WiFi Access locations throughout Yavapai County.
Arizona Department of Health Services
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has a website dedicated to COVID-19 that is updated daily. You can find the most up-to-date information about the disease in Arizona here:
Center for Disease Control and Prevent
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and maintains a regularly updated website with guidance and recommendations:
Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)
The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is Arizona’s Medicaid program, a federal health care program jointly funded by the federal and state governments for individuals and families who qualify based on income level. They are monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and have compiled resources and guidance for families.
Arizona Department of Economic Security
The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) has compiled a list of DES services to support families affected by COVID19.
The following are resources to support students and families who utilize the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Recursos Para Familias y Maestros
La prioridad del Departamento de Educación de Arizona (ADE, por sus siglas en inglés) es mantener escuelas públicas y comunidades saludables. Por eso, Todas las escuelas públicas, privadas y charters (K-12) de Arizona estarán cerradas hasta el 10 de abril. Mientras las escuelas están cerradas por COVID-19 (también conocido como Coronavirus), hemos recopilado recursos para la salud de familias durante ese tiempo.
Recursos médicos del gobierno:
El Departamento de Servicios de Salud de Arizona (ADHS, por sus siglas en inglés) tiene una página web dedicado al COVID-19 que es actualizada a diario. Puede encontrar la información más actualizada sobre la enfermedad en Arizona a través de:
Esta es una situación emergente que está evolucionando rápidamente y los Centros de Control y Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) proveerán información actualizada mientras sea disponible, en adición a las guías actualizadas:
El gobernador de Arizona, Doug Ducey, ha creado un sitio de recursos para la gente de Arizona. El sitio incluye recursos sobre asistencia financiera, ayuda para dueños de la casa, ayuda con servicios públicos como APS o SRP, recursos comunitarios y mucho más:
El estado de Arizona ha establecido una línea telefónica del COVID-19. Si tiene preguntas sobre pruebas, síntomas u otras inquietudes, por favor de llamar al 1-844-542-8201.
El Departamento de Educación de Arizona ha creado un Centro de Aprendizaje Virtual para asistir maestros y familias con los planes por instrucción no tradicional. Por favor, lo use con discreción y en una manera que alinea con el currículo del escuela o distrito.
Aprendizaje y Enriquecimiento Virtual de Title IV-A es un centro de recursos para asistir maestros y familias con los planes por instrucción no tradicional. Por favor, lo use con discreción y en una manera que alinea con el currículo del escuela o distrito. Eso recursos incluyen educación física, salud, arte, excursiones virtuales, desarrollo profesional para maestros, recursos de conexión y podcasts.
Ubicaciones de lugares que están ofreciendo comidas escolares para personas que están bajo de la edad 18.
Guía de Programas de las Comidas Escolares en el Condado de Maricopa
Recursos para Aprendizaje Socioal y Emocional
El equipo de Project Aware del Departamento de Educación de Arizona ha compilado una lista de recursos de apoyo socioemocional para ayudar familias y maestros a tener conversaciones con los estudiantes durante este período de alto estrés e incertidumbre. Cualquier material no instructivo debe ser utilizado con discreción y de la manera que mejor se adapte a sus planes de estudio escolares.
Guia para como navegar el COVID-19 para la comunidad DACA/Indocumentada y familias de estatus mixto:
Wifi y Banda Ancha
- Durante este tiempo de incertidumbre y aprendizaje en el hogar, Cox está ayudando a que las familias necesitadas se mantengan conectadas a Internet a través de nuestro programa Connect2Compete.
- Comcast aumenta el acceso y la velocidad de Internet Essentials para asistir familias a mantenerse conectados a internet.
The Project Aware team at the Arizona Department of Education has compiled a list of social-emotional support resources to help families and educators have conversations with students and each other during this period of high-stress and uncertainty. Any non-instructional materials should be used with discretion and in the way that best fits with their school/district curricula.
The following resources are for school-based social-emotional, mental health workers:
Preschool & Childcare
Our Early Childhood Education Unit has put together resources & information for early childhood (preschool, Head Start, etc.) special education providers who remain open during COVID-19 closures.
Arizona Enrichment Centers (Childcare)
On March 24, 2020, Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman announced the launch of Arizona Enrichment Centers which will offer childcare for first responders, critical health care workers, and essential public sector workers starting next week – March 30, 2020. Please check this page for more information in the coming week.
Guidance for Childcare and Daycare Centers
At this time, the school closure declaration does not apply to daycare facilities and preschools, which are encouraged to follow all guidance by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Families are encouraged to keep children at home whenever possible and to reserve spots in day-care and other childcare facilities for the children of first responders, healthcare workers, and other essential workers.
Childcare providers that remain open should review the most recent guidance from ADHS, and read the letter from Dr. Cara Christ that was sent to Arizona childcare facility partners on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
Available Childcare and Daycare Options
- The Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence is maintaining a list of available childcare options during school closures.
- Select Boys and Girls Club locations are available to current members and open to new members with priority being given to healthcare and essential employees. Space is limited based on each location’s capacity. As of March 23rd, the list only includes locations in the Phoenix Metro Valley but will be expanded in the coming days.
View the CTE Section of our Virtual Learning Hub below for lesson plans, resources, and more. Please also review our Local Support Suggestions for Agriculture Education.
Testing & Assessments
Statewide Assessments (AZM2, MSAA, AZELLA, etc.)
Per the school closure emergency legislation signed on March 27, 2020, Statewide assessments for 2019-2020 (AZM2, MSAA, AIMS Science, AZELLA, etc.) are cancelled.
On Tuesday, March 31, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) notified ADE that we have met all statutory requirements necessary to receive a federal waiver from testing and accountability. ED intends to issue a formal approval of the waiver in the coming weeks.
SAT, AP, IB, & Cambridge International
The College Board has canceled the March 14th SAT test as well as its March 28th make-up test date. They have also canceled the May 2nd SAT administration. Students affected by these cancellations will receive refunds. Please visit this website for the latest details and updates on the SAT.
The College Board has announced that all in-person AP tests have been canceled for this year due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). In their place, the College Board will make AP tests available to be taken from home via a 45-minute online exam. There will be 2 different testing dates for each AP subject area test.
- Also, any student already registered for an exam can choose to cancel at no charge. Please refer to the College Board for their full statement.
- For more information, visit www.azed.gov/advanced-placement.
May 2020 IB exams scheduled for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme have been canceled due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The IB will be taking the following actions for the 2020 May Examination session:
- The May 2020 examinations as scheduled between 30 April and 22 May for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme candidates will no longer be held.
- Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work. This is based on student’s coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programs.
Cambridge International has moved to cancel international examinations worldwide due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Exams impacted include Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge AS and A Level. Read their full statement here.
Special Education Considerations
The Arizona Department of Education remains committed to supporting students with disabilities and the educators and specialists that serve them.
Please click below to find comprehensive guidance, helpful Q&A’s, and resources for educators and families regarding special education amid COVID-19 school closures. Follow-up questions can be sent to [email protected].
Pandemic Preparedness Guidance to Schools
Please view our Pandemic Preparedness Guidance to Schools for more information regarding:
- Emergency Operations Plans
- Authority and Decision for School Closure
- Prevention and Mitigation Strategies
- Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning
- Continuity of Education Instruction
- Special Education Considerations
- Funding Considerations & Make-Up Days
- Continuity of Social Services
- Continuity of Nutrition Services
- School Reopening
- Use of Facilities and Staff by Public Health Authorities
Frequently Asked Questions
The Arizona Department of Education
This FAQ document was last updated on March 30, 2020.
The Arizona Department of Education is committed to providing guidance to schools, teachers, and families as they navigate school closures related to COVID-19.
Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions document which we are updating regularly as information and answers become available.
The US Department of Education