While the President pushes for a return to in-person instruction by the Fall for educators throughout the nation, 90-percent of Arizona teachers surveyed say they are concerned or very concerned about a return to the classroom amid the pandemic.
On Arizona Edition, KAWC's Lou Gum speaks with Joe Thomas, President of the Arizona Education Association (AEA) on how teachers are responding to a potential return to the classroom. He says early on in the pandemic, educators struggled to respond.
"Educators are one of the problem-solvers, but you have to understand the problem first," Thomas said. "We did not know what this problem was, we didn't understand how viral this virus was."
In March when the outbreak began trickling into Arizona, schools throughout the state were put on pause. They were closed initially for two weeks. That was extended an additional two weeks and finally a statewide closure by Governor Doug Ducey.
"By in large Arizona did a pretty good job," says Thomas. Then Gov. Ducey began to reopen the state. “We have been on a different trajectory ever since," he says.
The Arizona Superintendent for Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman, believes schools should follow the science and do whatever it takes to keep families and teachers safe.
The AEA received 7,600 responses from Arizona educators in their survey.