Parents stage protest as Paradise Valley Unified School District prepares to return to online learning

Parents and students at Paradise Valley Unified School District are protesting the district’s decision to move to all-virtual learning, starting on November 23.

Parents say they are very upset about their kids having to go back online. They say that online learning earlier this year already set their kids back academically and socially, and that’s a reality they don’t want to go back to.

"We don’t feel like they’re listening to us and what our needs are," said Lisa Farr. "We are constituents. We are taxpayers."

"The kids don’t have the attention span to learn from a screen," said Jonathon Vanderwerff.

School district officials explained that they had moved into the Arizona Department of Health Service’s "Red Zone," as a result of having more than 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. School district officials have released a statement, which reads, in part:

"While we wish we could continue to offer students an in-person learning opportunity, with the rising spread of COVID-19 in our community, continuing to do so would not be safe for our students, families and staff at this time."

The news comes just a month after the school district reopened for some in-person learning. Parents say it is too soon to close again.

LIST: Arizona school districts provide in-person and distance learning plans

"We’ve got districts all around us that are open, and yet, our district was the one of the last to open and the first to close," said Farr.

Alicia Moura, who is a single parent, says her daughter, who has special needs, has been struggling with the idea of going back to online school, a style of learning that Moura says simply does not work for her.

"It was devastating for her to do the online learning," said Moura. "She made no progress. She slipped. We lost about two years' worth of progress, both in academics and in her self-esteem, and it was really terrible."

That is why Moura and other parents are petitioning the school district to reconsider, or else Moura says she just might consider switching districts.

"We moved here to go to this district, that’s what the point was, so to be faced now with going to a different district is difficult," said Moura.

The CDC also realeased a statement today that said “for kids K-12 one of the safest places to be is in school.”

Again, Paradise Valley is set to go all virtual on November 23.

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