It was recently announced that Arizona schools will receive another round of Coronavirus relief funds from the federal government. We spoke with state superintendent of public instruction Kathy Hoffman about where that money is going and the effect it will have on education in Arizona.
When speaking about this funding Hoffman said, “This is a big deal for Arizona. We are in the process of allocating over a billion dollars across the state and this is federal relief funding so this is meant to be supplementary funding for Covid relief and recovery and our schools have through the fall of 2023 to spend these funds for a wide range of different things that they need, anything that’s tied to Covid relief.”
Hoffman went on to explain the complicated formula being used to allocate the money to different kinds of schools in the state. While speaking on that formula she mentioned that in Arizona they have decided to have a $150,000 baseline for each region, rather than some of the smaller rural communities getting significantly less than the bigger and more populated ones.
The conversation shifted toward in-person learning, as the CDC has recently released guidelines for safe returns to school for children. Hoffman believes the CDC guidelines are, “not that different than what we have already been advising our schools here in Arizona.”
She went on to express, “We’ve continued to have a close partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services and so many of their top recommendations, things like wearing masks, socially distancing, looking at the community spread of Covid positive cases, these are all factors and mitigation strategies that we have been advocating for and emphasizing so that we can move in a direction of having safe in-person instruction for our students.”
Hoffman also mentioned that because Arizona has teachers getting vaccinated, she feels as though the state is getting closer to returning to safe in-person learning.