Parents within Tempe Union Unified rally for answers on the fate of online learning

A large group of parents in Tempe are angered by a lack of direction for the upcoming school year as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in Arizona.

About 200 parents are rallying the night of Wednesday, Dec. 16 outside of the Tempe Union High School District offices, demanding answers from the district.

Students within the district have been online learning for the majority of this school year.

Parents are frustrated because they say they still don't know what is to come for this upcoming year. Will they be continuing online learning or will they be allowed an in-person option?

They're asking the school board for a choice between the two, but are also asking for guidance as students went back to remote learning on Nov. 30 with no return date.

Parents say the district is not fulfilling its obligation to students because surrounding districts are offering in-person classes.

"We just want to know what the plan is and how to achieve in-person school and if we are not and the plan will be at home we would like them to follow the lead of Phoenix Union and tell us that and tell us we won't be in-person," said parent, Jonathan Ladd.

The school district released a statement saying, "Throughout this pandemic, the District has looked to the guidance of available public health metrics (from Arizona Department of Health Services, and Maricopa County Department of Public Health), as well as our medical advisors, regarding school operations. As we have communicated to parents, we will continue to be guided by the metrics and we look forward to re-opening for in-person learning as soon as it is considered safe to do so while also minimizing community spread. While we understand that members in our community want firm answers now, health metrics are updated on a weekly basis. We evaluate all information and updates regarding COVID-19 on an ongoing basis, in order to make decisions for the wellbeing of our students, their families, our teachers, and staff members."