TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Tuesday night, several dozen people gathered in front of the Pima County Superior Court for a peaceful protest.
The organized group is calling on Pima County Health officials to recommend area districts reopen schools for hybrid learning.
“My children; ages 10, 12 and 14, are in a private school setting,” said Aaron Greenberg. “Yet, they are sitting in cafeteria during the day with a proctor making sure they are socially distanced and remote learning.”
Greenberg is not only asking for an in-person learning option for all students, he wants teachers to return to the classrooms, too.
“I can tell you my children’s education is at stake,” he said. “They are so far behind in their education … they are falling backwards.”
Many are also worried about the mental health ramifications of students learning from home.
“Parents, students, educators, grandparents [are all out here tonight],” said Blythe. “We have democrats, we have republicans, we have independents, we have doctors, we have nurses, we have lawyers [all saying the same thing]. We understand that it’s not right for everyone to be back in person, but there are a lot of students and staff who would like to be back.”
Last week, Pima County reached a set of metrics required by the State of Arizona to begin a hybrid learning model. However, the local health department said Pima County could easily slip out of that category for reopening because of how unpredictable the virus is.
“At this point, it’s completely political,” said Greenberg. “Everyone sees through the BS.”
Tuesday afternoon, Pima County’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francisco García, gave the following statement:
“The ability to open public and charter schools is entirely the domain of the individual school boards and the Executive branch of state government. The Governor’s Executive Order directs local health department to provide schools and school districts information to consider as they make these decisions.”
“The superintendents and the districts are telling us they are relying on the county, and the county’s metrics and the county’s word,” Blythe said.
“In Pima County, this consultation process involves the Back-to-School task force made up of all the public school superintendents as well as representatives of the charter and private/parochial schools. The County will continue to provide this technical support and feedback to schools as they make these difficult decisions,” said Garcia. “As a parent with two sons in the public school system, I am acutely aware of the challenges that parents and guardians are dealing with. We are all actively working with school districts to develop safe strategies for moving into hybrid and face-to-face instruction. Those plans are still in development.”
“As soon as possible we would like to see the kids back in the classroom,” Blythe said.