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Sources: Hundreds of teachers to stage 'sickout' in East Valley districts

Posted at 9:34 PM, Dec 29, 2020

The ABC15 education team has learned, hundreds of teachers in the Chandler and Gilbert Unified school districts are planning a sick out for next week, when students return to class.

Multiple sources say, as many as 600 teachers in Chandler, and 150 teachers in Gilbert will call out to protest district plans to return to in-person learning.

FULL COVERAGE: Safely Back to School in Arizona

Right now, Arizona is setting records for cases, deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19. Doctors have warned, medical facilities could become overwhelmed as numbers continue to rise.

State guidelines recommend all schools return to virtual learning, based on current metrics.

Educators have been urging the governing boards in both districts to hold emergency meetings to re-evaluate their plans.

Chandler board member Lara Bruner confirmed with ABC15 today, she requested an emergency board meeting last week, but that request was denied.

Teachers say they don't feel safe, and they don't believe districts are addressing their concerns.

The sickouts are not endorsed by the Arizona Education Association, which has urged its members to work with administrators to resolve safety issues.

AEA President Joe Thomas told me today, the union supports members who want their voices heard.

"They're calling out for help," he said. "You're going to see them create their own way" to make their voices heard.

The sickouts are expected to last the entire week. ABC15 is still seeking reaction from both districts.