PHOENIX - The closer Arizonans get to the Aug. 17 date for schools to return to in-person classes, the more intense the debate becomes as safety becomes a top priority for teachers, students and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Groups of teachers and doctors gathered at the state capital on July 28 wanting to weigh in. The Arizona Federation of Teachers wrote letters to Governor Doug Ducey as the state grapples with sending kids back to school.
Teachers call on Gov. Ducey to delay reopening of schools amid COVID-19
"We’re not ready. We’re not ready to stay closed. Were not ready to reopen," says Ralph Quintana with the Arizona Federation of Teachers.
While the event didn’t draw a large crowd of teachers, the union represents 2,500 teachers who want the governor to use the state's rainy day fund to improve virtual learning for students who can't afford the technology to attend online classes.
If they do return in person, they say more funding is needed to protect students and teachers from spreading COVID-19.
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Earlier in the day, a group of teachers with "S.O.S. Save Our Schools" signs and doctors gathered in the state capitol's rose garden wanting the ear of the governor.
The group says benchmarks must be set statewide and adhered to before kids return to classrooms.
Ducey is expected to make a decision about classes in the next two weeks.