Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has issued an executive order that requires schools to offer in-person learning by March 15, according to a statement from the governor's office.
"More than half of Arizona’s schools are open and offering in-person options," Ducey said in his statement. "More schools need to follow their lead and pave the way for equitable education options for every Arizona student."
Ducey emphasized that the CDC and "numerous health officials have said time and time again that schools are safe and kids can go back to the classroom."
The order mandates that schools return to in-person learning by March 15, or after Spring Break, according to the governor's statement.
The statement says a parent or guardian may choose to continue virtual learning for their child.
The order makes an exception for middle and high schools located in counties with “high” transmission of Covid-19, as defined by the CDC. The statement noted that this currently includes three Arizona counties: Coconino, Yavapai, and Pinal.
"The CDC is clear that there is a safe pathway for all schools to open at any transmission level, and to stay open if they implement proper mitigation strategies," the governor noted.
This announcement comes a day after nearby Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would be lifting the mask mandate and "opening Texas 100 percent."