On social media on late Monday afternoon, Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, reacting to the surge in COVID 19 in the Grand Canyon State, posted:

“I am in support of the following actions:
✅ a statewide mask mandate
✅ quarantine and testing requirements for seasonal residents
✅ a limit on social gatherings
✅ a statewide pause on winter sports, including club sports
✅ expanding outdoor dining, including added flexibility for patio dining
These #COVID19 mitigation efforts are essential to protecting our healthcare and education professionals and institutions, including our students and families.”

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Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman

Later in an interview with AZ Central, she said:

“It seems to me that the policies that we have in place are not sufficient. There’s a strong connection between our public school system and the public health system. And right now, they’re both struggling.”

While the Superintendent was making her views known, the Arizona Education Association led by Joe Thomas launched a petition drive designed to make Governor Ducey adopt stricter COVID 19 preventative guidelines with regards to School Coronavirus Metrics.

In the letter to Governor Ducey, Mr. Thomas wrote:

Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas

“The (school metric benchmark) guidelines in place are not sufficient. They have created confusion and divisions inside our communities. Too many Arizonans feel this pandemic is a hoax. They are not taking seriously your recommendations to “mask up” to stop the spread. Parents, students, and educators need you to state in the strongest and clearest terms a plan with mandates their safety and reverses the spread of this virus.”

Thomas’s letter continues with proposals for the “creation and implementation of a statewide
COVID-19 Plan for Safe Schools” that would:

“•Mandate masks are worn statewide in schools and on buses until the end of the
school year.
• Any school with a majority of zip codes inside their attendance boundary
showing reported cases of COVID-19 above a rate of 100/100,000 for two
consecutive weeks shall immediately transition to hybrid (meaning less than
50% of students on campus) or distance learning mode of instruction for at
least two weeks or until the reported COVID-19 cases in a majority of the zip
codes inside their attendance boundary drop beneath a rate of 100/100,000 for
two consecutive weeks.
• Any school with a majority of zip codes inside their attendance boundary
experiencing a third consecutive week of increased COVID-19 cases over
100/100,000 shall immediately move to distance learning for at least two
weeks or until the reported COVID-19 cases in a majority of the zip codes
inside their attendance boundary drop beneath 100/100,000 for two
consecutive weeks.
• Provide additional funding and support for districts that move to distance
learning mode until January due to the spread of COVID-19 in the
communities they serve.
• Require safety protocols for school districts regarding COVID-19 which must
include:
o Timely notification of exposure for students and staff that may have
been in contact with an exposed person.
o Time off available for staff to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19.
o Requiring symptomatic students and staff to quarantine for 14 days, and
show negative test results before returning in person.
• Provide additional funding necessary to ensure our public schools that can be open to in-person learning are able to sustain the safe and healthy learning environments needed for our
students to learn safely. This includes:
o Additional funding for proper PPE and cleaning supplies as recommended to combat
COVID-19
o Inspections of school buildings, prioritizing ventilation and HVAC systems
o Additional funding for upgrades to HVAC systems and air filters to provide safe and
proper ventilation for students and staff
• ADHS and ADE shall jointly create and monitor a mechanism for parents and school staff to
report non-compliance with the statewide COVID-19 school safety plan by school
administration.
• ADHS and ADE shall jointly create a process for enforcement of noncompliance of
statewide safety measures.”

Thomas concludes the letter telling Mr. Ducey “it is time for you to lead.”

Hoffman and Thomas are right.

 

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey

It is actually well past time that Governor Ducey shuns the whims of his science-denying base and do what is right for all of Arizona’s citizens, including the stakeholders in the state’s public schools.

Ducey should ask the question: Do I want to be remembered as a failed Governor that was, because I had dreams of higher office, too chicken to tell my base to go to hell, or do I want to be remembered as the Arizona leader that, when action was needed, I led and saved lives.

This is not a tough choice Mr. Governor.

 

 

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