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Arizona Education Association Calling On Ducey To Develop Statewide School Safety Plan

The Arizona Education Association has sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey calling on him to take further action on K-12 schools. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, AEA President Joe Thomas said in a Friday letter that Arizona needs to develop a statewide school safety plan. 

“The governor comes out every week or so and talks about where the data is as far as the spread of this virus, the hospitalization rate, that’s really important, but it’s not a plan," he said. 

Thomas and the AEA are calling on Ducey to develop such a plan or pass on the responsibility to Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. 

They want the plan to: 

  • Mandate masks be worn statewide in schools and on buses until the end of the school year.
  • Require safety protocols for school districts regarding COVID-19 exposure notification plans for employees and students.
  • Cancel this year’s high-stakes standardized testing due to the disruptions related to COVID-19 rendering scores unreliable for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Grant school districts flexibility toward meeting the requirement of 180 days of instruction due to impacts related to COVID-19.
  • Provide the additional funding necessary to ensure that when schools open to students, that schools can continue to provide safe and healthy learning environments needed for our students to excel.

“For educators nothing is more important than the health and safety of our students, that will always come first and we just don’t want to see that jeopardized or put into conflict with something else that makes us move forward too quickly," Thomas said.
Ducey has already mandated masks in schools in a July executive order that will remain active through to 2020-21 school year.

Thousands of education support professionals have already reported to work even as districts struggle to acquire personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies, according to the letter.

"A statewide plan must include targeted funding to address this dangerous situation as these shortages will only worsen once students and teachers are brought back," Thomas said.

Get The Latest News On COVID-19 In Arizona

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