“To align with the vision laid out in the Arizona Department of Education’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools and to ensure educator and student safety, I’ve asked Governor Ducey to include, at a minimum, the following priorities in his upcoming plans to support our school communities:
- Use public health data to determine reopening metrics. School leaders should be empowered to work with local public health officials to examine data and determine when it’s safe to reopen for in-person learning, rather than relying solely on dates. Metrics, including but not limited to those listed below, will provide communities with clear targets for mitigating COVID-19:
- A downward trajectory of confirmed new cases of COVID-19
- A decrease in positivity rates for COVID-19 testing
- The widespread availability of testing with timely results
- Guarantee full funding for distance learning to ensure comprehensive, high-quality teaching and learning opportunities and critical student services. Distance learning costs to schools are high. Whether their school buildings are safe to reopen or not, schools need flexibility and budget stability for students and educators to succeed in the upcoming year. Many public schools have already invested considerably in technology, online learning platforms, and other tools needed during distance learning. Students need access to services that support their well-being and academic success across multiple scenarios and conditions during a pandemic.
“Like all educators, I want students back in our classrooms because that’s the best place for learning and growing. However, we cannot ask schools to make decisions that will impact their teachers’ and students’ health and safety without first providing them with the necessary public health data and funding to make safe decisions.”