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Dear Arizona Students and Families—

I hope you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy. This summer has been very different than most. Instead of taking vacations, relaxing by the pool, or spending extra time with friends and family – many of us are staying inside to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Although this spring and summer have been challenging, I take heart seeing all the hard work you and your families have put in to make sure you can continue learning and are ready to start the new school year strong.

Since the beginning of summer, I have been speaking to teachers across the state, and the number one thing they share with me is how much they miss seeing all of you – their students. I’ve been listening to your teachers and principals and the vision they have for the next school year. Although we may not gather in a classroom on the first day of school, your teachers are so excited to watch you learn and grow.

Both teachers and students want to return to their classrooms as quickly and as safely as possible. We want to hug our friends, share stories about our summer adventures, and just be with each other. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has made it difficult to return safely to in-person learning and our classrooms. The absolute best way we can fight against COVID-19 is to protect ourselves and others by wearing a mask and staying at home when we can. We all have a big part to play in stopping this virus. I hope you’ll join me in this fight! Remember, the more we do to stop the spread, the quicker we can all gather again in classrooms.

Finally, I want to recognize that many of us are feeling a bit lonely these days being away from friends and classmates – and that is perfectly okay. I encourage you to talk to a trusted adult so they can listen to your concerns and help you make sense of your feelings. It may be hard now, but if we all do our part to stay home and keep our communities healthy, we’ll be back to school before we know it. I am so grateful that we have each other to lean on to get through this together. I hope that I get to see you all in your classrooms soon!

KATHY HOFFMAN–Superintendent of Public Instruction

For information on school openings and COVID-19 guidelines, visit www.azed.gov