PUSD schools close through March 27

'This includes the cancellation of all out-of-district transportation and athletic practices and competitions'

By Krista Allen
Lake Powell Chronicle

PAGE – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced Sunday the closure of state schools statewide, which includes Page Unified School District schools.

The closures apply to K-12 schools, including charter and private schools, starting today (March 16) through Friday, March 27.  

This is in effort to avoid spreading of the novel coronavirus, said PUSD Superintendent Robert B. Varner. PUSD schools are currently on spring break this week.

“This includes the cancellation of all out-of-district transportation and athletic practices and competitions,” Varner explained, adding that all PUSD schools will be open today (March 16) and tomorrow (March 17) to allow staff to retrieve essential personal items while schools are closed. “If there is something that you absolutely need, please contact your child’s school office during this time.”

Varner said starting on Wednesday, March 18, access to schools will be limited to only administrators, directors, administrative assistants, and maintenance and operations staff.

“We want to assure you that this is not a decision that was made lightly or without considerable thought and consideration,” Varner said. “We recognize and understand the impact this will have on our families, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”

PUSD schools will be offering food service to students, but PUSD officials are still working on a plan, said Lynne Hoffman, executive assistant for PUSD. This information will be available in due course.

“Additional information will be coming to staff and (to) families in the coming days and we appreciate your attention to our communications,” Varner added.

Ducey said the decision was made to address staffing shortages and to prioritize the safety of students.

“Over the past few weeks in coordination with public health officials, we have been in close communication with school administrators to provide guidance and resource as it relates to the recent outbreak of COVID-19,” Ducey said in a statement. “As more schools announce closures and education administrators express staff shortages within their schools, now is the time to act. A statewide closure is the right thing to do. While this measure will not stop the spread of COVID-19, it will bring certainty and consistency in schools across Arizona.”