PHOENIX — “They sent the students home with a packet, this packet right here, and this packet is basically two paper packages for the students to do for ten days, they have no teacher interaction, no online presence,” said an angry West Valley father.
One of those students is Dr. Arthur Hardwick’s eighth-grade son Edgar, insulted by what he calls a complete lack of forethought by the Litchfield Elementary School District.
“I cannot sit back because Litchfield School District is 60% Hispanic and African American,” said Dr. Hardwick.
He says on Monday he was notified by Wigwam Creek Middle School that his son has come into close contact with a student who tested positive for COVID-19. As of Tuesday, he’ll remain out of school for ten days.
“So basically I’m going to give you a two-week vacation, take this package, have a good life, call me when it’s done, well that’s not acceptable to me and it’s not acceptable to the other parents,” said Dr. Hardwick.
It’s an issue now being seen at more schools around the Valley as cases continue to pop up. Lisa Wright is a mother of two. One child attends Perry High School, the other works on the Hamilton High School campus. Both schools are experiencing outbreaks at the moment.
“Arizona is burning with COVID right now and we need to get it under control,” said Wright.
She says very few students are choosing to wear masks on either campus, and social distancing is at a minimum. She blames the rising infections on the governor and state lawmakers for their decision to ban mask mandates.
“It basically took away all of the mitigation strategies that actually work so they’re left with a handful of things that are much more ineffective,” said Wright.
Both parents feel handcuffed. Chandler Unified tells us they do reserve the right to increase mitigation if cases reach certain thresholds. But Wright questions whether they will. Dr. Hardwick has spoken to the district and state superintendent's office but says he’s gotten little to no help at all.
“They try to tie you up, slow you down because they realize you're not going to fight them, you’re not going to push the issue, they’re gonna just blow you off, well they’re not going to blow me off this time,” said Dr. Hardwick.
ABC15 reached out to the Litchfield Elementary School District who issued a statement Wednesday. In part, the district says they are offering a variety of ways for children to learn during quarantine but it varies by teacher. They listed things like google classroom, pre-recorded lessons, online assignments and after-school tutoring. However, Dr. Hardwick, after seeing the statement, says not once was any of this offered to his son or other parents he’s spoken with.
Read the full statement from Litchfield here.