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Gov. Ducey's new school program has some worried about politicization of public health

Gov. Doug Ducey’s new program to provide money to parents whose school closes has some worried it will only further politicize public health. 

Governor spokesperson C.J. Karamargin says the Open for Learning Recovery Benefit program looks to provide parents options rather than closing schools.

The issue comes as school districts start this week and COVID-19 cases are spiking, not just in the state, but across the country.

Lobbyist for the Arizona School Boards Association Chris Kotterman says he agrees that schools should remain open but says the governor isn’t acting with public health in mind. 

“The governor keeps playing both sides of the fence. He's like 'keep schools open, schools open is the best place to be, but you can't do this, you can't do this, you can't do this, you can't do this.' In our opinion, it's to placate a political base where we're worried about actually keeping schools open," Kotterman said.

Former state health director Will Humble says there will likely be some school closures due to breakthrough cases of staff, and a limited number of substitute teachers. 

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.