TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Several educators and school support staff are not backing down in their efforts to postpone in-person learning.
With the August 17th reopening date fast-approaching, a petition is now circling the region.
“I actually decided not to go back to school this fall,” said Amber Yandell, a former preschool teacher. “It was a really, really tough decision. I love my kids so much and I would love to be there to protect them, but I honestly just don’t agree with schools going back. I don’t think it’s safe for the kids, I don’t think it’s safe for the educators.”
Yandell knew she wasn’t the only one feeling this way, so she started the ‘Protect Our Children, Say NO to schools re-opening in AZ’ petition last week.
It has already received more than 1,900 signatures.
“I think we need to be relying on medical professionals, on the C.D.C., without politicians giving their input on it,” said Yandell. “We need to have funding available for schools.”
- Teachers and staff members to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to school
- Adequate funding for all schools, including day cares and private schools, to cover the costs of cleaning
- Funding to cover COVID-19 testing for students
- Specific and feasible safety and health guidelines from medical professionals
“I have so many teachers that are dying to get back into the classroom … but in a safe way,” said Margaret Chaney, the President of the Tucson Education Association (TEA). “For people to think, for even an instance, that, ‘Oh we just want to stay home’, No! [Online lessons are] the hardest way to teach.”
Area districts, such as the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) and the Sunnyside Unified School District, plan to begin the school year fully online. However, critical state funding hangs in the balance if they’re not back in the classroom when the State says to resume in-person lessons.
“Withholding funding is an ultimatum and I don’t think that’s fair,” Yandell said.
KOLD News 13 reached out to Governor Doug Ducey’s Office for comment and received the following statement:
“We are working closely with Superintendent Hoffman’s Office to provide families and educators more certainty ahead of the upcoming school year. More details to be announced this week.”
“I want to see a plan that is actually is in place, that ensures that our kids are safe, that we have funding to keep our kids safe,” Yandell said.
If that happens, Yandell says she will happily return to her position.
Another Motor March is scheduled for Wednesday, July 22nd, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Reid Park. Last week, about 100 teachers and parents took part in the street rally calling for Governor Ducey to hold off on in-person classes this fall.