PHOENIX — “They should be able to go to school, their education shouldn’t be hurt, their socialization shouldn’t be hurt,” said Heidi Kim.
It’s an ideal scenario the Valley mom hoped would play out for her two young girls. But just two weeks into the school year, her five-year-old now has COVID-19.
“There are a total of three kids in her class who wear masks and my older daughter, there are two kids including her, so one other kid that wears a mask,” said Heidi.
Heidi’s daughters attend EduPrize in San Tan Valley. The charter school sent out a letter to parents outlining safety protocols being taken and urging the use of masks but admitting they couldn’t mandate them.
“I could home school them again, I did this last year but I need to get back to work and I was just really hoping that people would do the right thing and send their kids in masks,” said Heidi.
That just isn’t happening and Heidi’s eight-year-old is now showing symptoms as well. Her frustration is now aimed at Governor Doug Ducey and his efforts to ban mask mandates through the states recently passed budget.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics says there are safe ways to do it, the CDC says there are safe ways to do it, they all involve masks,” said Heidi.
“First of all our schools should have never been put in this situation,” said Arizona Public Schools Superintendent Kathy Hoffman.
Hoffman says she’s had little to no communication with the Governor's office and strenuously believes he’s not following the proper science with his decision.
“I strongly believe that schools should have the ability to make those decisions at the local level,” said Hoffman.
Some like the Phoenix Union High School District and the Phoenix Elementary School District doing just that despite the Governors objections.
The district is implementing mask mandates for the time being. Now caring for a daughter with a 103-degree fever, Heidi says she doesn’t have much hope things will improve.
“I just can’t imagine a situation in which it’s not spreading all year long if this continues to be the way that it is,” said Heidi.