PHOENIX — The hope was to open campuses and allow students to return to campus on August 17. But as the date nears, a growing number of school districts in Maricopa County are beginning to have second thoughts as the number of COVID infections show little sign of abating.
This week two school districts, Scottsdale Unified and Paradise Valley Unified said they are delaying in-person classes until September 8.
Phoenix Union and Alhambra say their campuses will stay closed for the entire first quarter of school. Although Alhambra will provide limited learning spaces for some students. "We share the goal that we would love to see our kids back inside school," Governor Doug Ducey said at his Thursday briefing. "It's going to happen when it's safe."
The Governor did not commit to pushing back the August 17 start day for schools to open their campuses. But he did recognize the decision will not be made by him alone.
"I believe that we can navigate out of this situation but we've go to work with parents and teachers and superintendents. Our decisions are being informed by them." The governor said.
There is pressure to open schools. Parents can't go to work if their children are home alone. Children risk losing out on meal programs. According the Arizona Department of Education, the decisions so far, to further delay the on-campus start of the school year are limited to Maricopa County School Districts. A virtual education is not the option most would chose. But it's looking more like it is the only option. "That's how we closed out last year," the Governor said, "It wasn't optimal."