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The Latest: Ariz. gov. rejects call for online learning

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PHOENIX — Arizona’s Gov. Doug Ducey has rejected the state’s top education official’s call for Ducey to order public schools to use only online instruction for the next two weeks unless they have waivers from health officials.

Amid a coronavirus surge in the state, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Saturday that schools need a two-week “quarantine period” while educators and local officials review health data and decide what type of instruction is appropriate for their communities.

A spokesman for the governor said Ducey wouldn’t issue the order because how schools open is a local decision.

Arizona on Saturday reported nearly 8,900 additional known COVID-19 cases and 46 deaths.

Ducey, a Republican, and Hoffman, a Democrat, were aligned last spring when he ordered schools closed because of the coronavirus, but she voiced reservations later as he urged schools to provide in-person learning. Guidelines issued by Ducey’s administration during the fall let students remain in in-person classes beyond what earlier guidance would have recommended.

Many Arizona school districts in recent months have provided hybrid learning that includes both distanced and in-person instruction, while others either were already on remote learning or returning to it this month.

Many schools are set to resume classes in the coming week after the winter holidays.

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THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

The British government is facing mounting pressure from the teachers’ union to keep schools closed in England. The U.K. has reached a record of more than 57,000 daily coronavirus cases. On Monday, it plans to ramp up vaccinations, using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Tokyo’s Gov. Yuriko Koike is asking the national government to declare a “state of emergency” to curtail the surging coronavirus “in the name of valuing life.” Tokyo reported a daily record of 1,337 cases on New Year’s Eve and concerns are growing ahead of hosting the Olympics in July.

In Ohio, a 95-year-old woman who made 1,700 masks took a short break while she recovered from the coronavirus. During World War II, Miriam Looker inspected parachutes for the Army.

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