Some parents of charter school students say they want to see more COVID-19 safety measures.

Great Hearts, like many charter schools around the state, has not adopted a mask mandate this year.

By Yana Kunichoff | Arizona Republic

At Great Hearts charter schools in Arizona, shoes must be solid black or white with solid socks of the same color, and makeup is forbidden.

Parents say they appreciate the rigorous classroom environment with a focus on learning — but some want those same fastidious measures applied to COVID-19 safety.

“You can’t bring peanuts to class because it can hurt someone else” who may have an allergy, said Lisa Donsker, a longtime Great Hearts parent who recently moved her daughter to the online school because the charter schools do not have a mask mandate. “This is where you draw the line?”

Great Hearts, like many charter schools around the state, has not adopted a mask mandate this year. A state law that bans public and charter schools from requiring masks takes effect later this month.

Great Hearts did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

A vocal group of parents at charter schools both large and small are demanding change.

Unlike district-run schools, most charter networks don’t have governing boards, and not all have regular board meetings that can be attended by the public.

At some of Arizona’s high-performing charter schools, parents who are attorneys, doctors and professors are pushing for face masks and stronger quarantine rules. They have raised their voices, spinning up social media campaigns, drafting numerous letters and emails to network leadership.


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September 2021