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Arizona Sees Spike In Homeschooling Amid Pandemic

Arizona schools reopened this month with a mix of online and in-person learning. But KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, there’s been a dramatic spike in parents who have chosen to homeschool instead.

Maricopa County received more than 1200 homeschool affidavits last month, almost three times as many as July of last year. The county reports more applications coming in, at a rate of about 60 per day. Coconino County also reports higher than usual applications, though exact numbers aren’t available.

The spike reflects parents’ uncertainty over the spread of COVID-19. In Yavapai County, where the spread is less severe, homeschooling rose by 30 percent compared to last year. Harder-hit counties like Mohave and Apache saw the numbers rise by 70 percent and 110 percent, respectively.

The state Department of Education reports more applications for the empowerment scholarship program as well, which provides money for students who are not attending public schools. The department has received 1200 applications, three times as many as last year.

Note: Apache and Mohave County numbers reflect the months of July and August. Yavapai County tracks by the entire year. Navajo and Coconino Counties do not have comparative data available.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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