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Pinal County School District Cancels 1st Day Of In-Person Classes Due To Insufficient Staff

The J.O. Combs Unified School District in San Tan Valley is canceling in-person and virtual classes on Monday due to insufficient staff. This comes after the district announced plans to bring students back into the classroom on Aug. 17. 

The district has received an overwhelming response from staff who say they don’t feel safe returning to the classroom, said Superintendent Gregory Wyman in a  Friday statement. A high number of them have said they will be absent on Monday citing health and safety concerns. 

At this time, the district does not know how long these staff absences will last and cannot confirm when in-person instruction will begin. It hopes to provide an update by no later than 5 p.m. on Monday. 

"Please know that we are acutely aware of how polarizing this issue is, and how challenging these ongoing developments are for our entire community," he said. "We will continue to work closely with our employees and our families to develop solutions that provide a safe and healthy return to school."

The district is located in Pinal County. In-person classes are not yet recommended in the area, according to state data.

Breakfast and lunch meal service for students will still be available for pick up at all elementary schools between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. After-school and extracurricular activities are canceled. 

Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.