By Howard Fischer| Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star
Arizona schools chief Kathy Hoffman said there’s no guarantee in the state that there will be children in classrooms, or that it will be safe to open schools on Aug. 17.
A two-week delay in the start of in-classroom learning ordered by Gov. Doug Ducey may give schools more time to prepare to teach in the middle of the pandemic.
But that assumes students — and teachers — are going to show up at school in August.
“A lot of parents are ready for their kids to go back,” said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association. And he said teachers also are ready.
But Thomas said it’s not that simple in the days of COVID-19.
“We’re all starting to learn that there are people that we know who either they have it, or their kids have it or a family member has it,” he said of the coronavirus.
“So there’s a lot of anxiety,” Thomas explained. “They want to be back. But they just don’t feel safe.”
Even Arizona schools chief Kathy Hoffman said there’s no guarantee that there will be children in classrooms, or that it will be safe to open schools on Aug. 17. Instead, Hoffman says she expects that date will be when education officials will evaluate conditions at that time.
“And there is a potential for that date to shift,” Hoffman said.
It all might come down to how extensive COVID-19 infections remain in the state, said Chris Kotterman, a lobbyist for the Arizona School Boards Association.