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Arizona governor wants schools open despite virus surge

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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is taking what he calls “preemptive action” to keep public schools open despite rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The Republican governor on Tuesday announced a new program giving private school vouchers to parents of students whose schools close or move to remote learning.

He is tapping $10 million in federal virus relief funds to give parents up to $7,000 a year in private school tuition.

The U.S. Treasury Department warned Ducey in October that two earlier school programs he created are not allowed under the American Rescue Plan Act because they undermine virus prevention efforts.

The state is seeing rising hospitalizations and tallied more than 7,000 new cases on Tuesday as the more contagious omicron variant spreads.