CHANDLER, AZ — As more school districts release reopening plans, parents in the Valley will soon have to choose whether to send their children back to school in the fall.
On Thursday, the Phoenix Elementary School District governing board decided to move forward with two options for reopening schools in the fall. The models include a blended learning option and a virtual learning option. There is also a particular focus on social and emotional learning, and trauma-informed support.
The governing board of the Paradise Valley School District will meet Thursday night to discuss reopening plans, which include four options: PreK-12 in-person learning, K-6 hybrid, K-8 virtual real-time instruction and K-12 virtual self-paced.
The Chandler Unified School District released its final two options for parents after a vote Wednesday night. The first option is an in-person model where kids go to five full days of school. The second option is an online instructional model.
The district's governing board also voted to push the start date back two weeks to August 5. To make up for that, fall and spring breaks will be one week instead of two.
Jaclyn Bishop's three boys will all be going to CTA Freedom once classes start in August. She chose the first option because she trusts the faculty at the school to take care of her children.
"I'm not actually really that nervous about it," she said. "We're going with the no fear approach, and really just honing in on personal hygiene and trusting the faculty that's in charge of our kids."
All students K-12 will have to wear masks when they can't social distance.
Dionne Mills has three children in the district as well and says her children will be staying home until the number of COVID-19 cases decreases in Arizona.
"I'm a physician, so I follow the science. It would make more sense for us to keep the kids at home --which they have been at home since March--they haven't gone out or visited family since March. We're continuing that. The numbers don't tell me that we should do any different," said Mills.
The district will allow parents to switch options at the end of a quarter or semester.
Mills said she may change her mind later on.
"We want our kids in school, we want them making friends and interacting and so as soon as we can feel safe that that is the best, safest place for them to be, we will definitely be sending them back to school," she said.
There are many parents, like Jennifer Bosen, who don't know what to do. Bosen said she was hoping to have a hybrid option, a mix of in-person and online learning.
"I don't know that there's a good option. I just don't think there's a good solution that will keep as many people safe as possible," she said. "If we could have a couple of days a week or even if they go in the morning and are home in the afternoon or vice versa...But still giving them the option to be with their teachers, their friends because that in-person learning is so valuable and I know that they're so lonely missing out on social opportunities. That's been really hard."