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Arizona Education Leaders: Don't Open Schools Yet

Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer
Arizona Superintendent Kathy Hoffman

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.

Victor is originally from West Sacramento, California and has lived in Arizona for more than five years. He began his print journalism career in 2004 following his graduation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Victor has been a reporter for the following daily newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Salinas Californian and the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he covered stories including agriculture, education and Latino community news. Victor has also served as a local editor for Patch, a national news organization with hyperlocal websites, in Carmichael, California in the Sacramento area. He also served as the editor for The New Vision, the newspaper for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma and La Paz counties. Victor lives in Somerton. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and following most sports.
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