Ducey Order Forces TUSD To Start In-person Classes Two Days Early; Marana Unified Updates Plan

Tucson Unified School District reaffirmed their plan Thursday to open schools the week of March 22, which is in compliance with Gov. Doug Ducey’s Executive Order released Wednesday, said TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo.

Trujillo said they were ahead of the order, which has put them in a good spot to safely return students, teachers and staff to campus.

TUSD schools will have to reopen to in-person learning two days earlier than planned, on March 22 instead of March 24.

While 1 out 5 parents still need to choose their child’s learning program, more than 43% percent chose remote learning, which Trujillo said is in compliance with the executive order.

The district recently purchased $1.5 million in High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) units, which are stand-alone units that can be plugged into a wall to reduce the spread of harmful particles in the air. On Wednesday, they finalized the purchase of 4,000 units for every campus, said Trujillo.

Throughout the spring and early summer, they plan to retrofit older buildings with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) rating level 13 filters, from level 8 filters, which refers to the filter's ability to capture harmful particles in the air as part of the HVAC system, said Trujillo.

On Monday, the district began distributing more than 50,000 N95 masks. Each school will also get at least one hands-free, bottle-filling station, he said.

House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding and Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios released a joint statement questioning Gov Ducey’s executive order.

“We shouldn't have to choose between public health and public schools,” the Democratic lawmakers said. “We all know that school is the best place for our students to learn, but we need to make decisions that protect our communities, children, teachers, support staff and parents.”

Marana School District Superintendent Dan Streeter told families on Friday that the district would resume five days of in-person instruction for pre-K through eighth grades as well as MCAT students.

Marana High School and Mountain View High School will offer in-person instruction Monday through Thursday, with Fridays reserved for remote learning so that teachers will have time to work with students who prefer to remain in virtual schooling.