Arizona Education Leaders: Don't Open Schools Yet
Arizona education leaders say the Trump administration and federal education leaders are wrong to call on schools to reopen as soon as possible during a continuing rise in COVID-19 cases.
In a Zoom conference call Wednesday, state Superintendent Kathy Hoffman said the death of Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, a teacher in the Hayden Winkelman School District, from the coronavirus, is proof that it is not safe yet to return to full in-person instruction.
“I can tell you that after the abrupt goodbyes in the spring that our teachers in Arizona want to reenter their classrooms and they want to be with their students as soon as it is safely possible," Hoffman said. "However, it’s clear that right now it is not safe to do so and a reckless attempt to reopen without grounding those decisions in data will put the lives of our educators and our students at risk.”
The meeting comes a day before Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to hold a virtual closed door event with the Federalist Society in Phoenix.
Hoffman said in-person instruction will be delayed until at least Aug. 17.
State Sen. Martin Quezada, whose district includes Maryvale and Glendale, said DeVos is "out of touch" with educators on the ground.
"In a cabinet of morally-challenged appointees, to be considered the worst is saying something," Quezada said.