This weekend, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman stunned parents, teachers, and taxpayers when she suddenly Tweeted a demand that Gov. Doug Ducey order a two-week quarantine period rather than a return in in-classroom learning.
The superintendent implied that it was unsafe to return kids and teachers to the classrooms due to an increase in positive COVID-19 test results and associated hospitalizations.
Given the severity of our state’s situation and the virus’s trajectory after the holiday period, Gov. @dougducey should order schools to remain in distance learning for a limited two-week period to align with quarantine protocols and current @azdhs benchmark recommendations.
— Kathy Hoffman (@Supt_Hoffman) January 2, 2021
“Gov. Ducey will not be considering this request or issuing this kind of mandate,” the governor’s spokesperson, CJ Karamargin told the ADI on Sunday in an email. “This is a local decision, the online option is already available, and the governor has repeatedly made his preference clear: Kids have already lost out on a lot of learning, and he wants schools opened, safely.”
Teachers are torn. They recognize the need for kids to be in school, but with officials like Hoffman implying that it is not safe, they are genuinely concerned – not just for themselves, but for the kids.
One teacher, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, questioned why the superintendent did not make this call prior to the start of the holiday break given the fact that teachers and students would be spending time with family in celebration. That kind of closed quarter gathering is considered the most common source of the virus’ spread.
“Hoffman should have acted prior to the weekend before going back. I don’t know what her logic is given it is last minute. I’d totally support the 2 weeks if it were planned,” the teacher told the ADI. “I’m sure a lot of people didn’t listen to CDC in staying away from large gatherings and so to give it 2 weeks makes sense. I’d rather just take 2 weeks online than have so many more kids out so that they can’t or won’t be able to catch up later.”
Unfortunately for professional teachers, who put considerable planning into their daily lessons, and the parents who need reliable educational opportunities for their kids, the actions of the Superintendent and the Arizona Education Association have proven to be unhelpful to say the least.
While many see Hoffman’s demand as a failure in leadership, it did succeed in one way. Congressman Andy Biggs and Governor Ducey have agreed on little during the course of the pandemic, but Hoffman has succeeded in highlighting one area of agreement – like most parents, they both want the schools open and kids back in them:
Arizona children have been tortured enough in 2020. But there are still officials who want to inflict more pain on our children by continuing to remove in-person educational opportunities.
Stop hurting our children and their futures. https://t.co/RwALJY9E7E
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) January 3, 2021