Some southern Arizona schools not ready for hybrid learning

Hybrid learning benchmarks

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Department of Health announced some school districts may get to begin hybrid learning as soon as Thursday, Sept. 3. The health department said Pima and Maricopa County could meet the state’s benchmarks once the dashboard is updated.

Hybrid learning would allow school districts to provide both online and in-person classes. However, several southern Arizona school districts aren’t ready to bring students back.

The Flowing Wells School District’s Assistant Superintendent Kim Parkinson said the district needs several weeks of planning for things like transportation and food service.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Dooley of the Ajo Unified School District said they have a plan in place for hybrid learning but don’t plan to have any in-person instruction until at least Oct. 9.

“If I looked at the Arizona Department of Health Services website and everything was green in the middle of September then I would probably have a special board meeting and say what are your thoughts?” Dooley said.

He said about half of students would go to class, each would have temperature checks and face masks would be required in their hybrid learning model. However, he said his main concern in bringing students back is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“I don’t want to call parents to say your child has severe symptoms and you need to come and pick them up,” he said. “At least if we stay with the current online, we’re not responsible for any contagion with our kids.”

Similarly, the Catalina Foothills School District said it’s concerned about bringing students back too early and having to close schools due to an increased spread of the virus. For now, they plan to continue remote learning until they get definitive recommendations from the Pima County Health Department.

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