Students return to classrooms virtually amid COVID-19 concerns

Schools welcome small groups of students back to the classroom

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The first day back to school for thousands of Tucson school kids was a day of uncertainty. How is this schooling at home going to work? Will it work?

For teachers teaching online. Will it work?

For the districts, how many students will be on campus? How is that going to work?

Because the Governor’s Back to School orders, students who are at risk, such as homeless, foster kids or special needs, can attend in person and the district must accommodate them.

How many that might be per school and district was a great unknown.

For the Amphitheater School District, the anticipation was about 600 students, but on the first day back, only about 100 showed up.

“We anticipated more,” said Associate Superintendent Dr. Roseanne Lopez. “But honestly, I think people are just a little bit nervous with the numbers the way they are in Pima County.”

Those numbers are the coronavirus numbers which shows Pima County does not meet the metrics for hybrid or in class teaching.

The student who came in person will not be in a classroom with teachers, but they will learn the same way other children do from home.

They will be supervised, but not by a teacher.

“It’s being done by support staff,” said Dr Lopez. “Behavior intervention mentors, playground mentors, bus drivers.”

How many showed up at other schools isn’t known yet, but district leaders say they’re trying to get a handle on it.

The county put out a call for a report, but it had not come back by the end of the day.

“We know when you put bodies in a building or in a gathering venue, that’s when you look at these high risk scenarios,” said Dustin Williams, the schools Superintendent for Pima County. “I’m concerned with that.”

The district says it’s fine for now.

“We’ll be fine unless we get a major influx of students and then we’ll have to regroup,” Lopez said. “Because we have only a limited number of staff.”

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