Kathy Hoffman wants Arizona schools to reopen based on metrics
PHOENIX – The top education official in Arizona said as much she wanted students back in the classroom, schools should be able to decide when to reopen based on public health data on the coronavirus outbreak.
Hoffman said in a letter posted on social media Tuesday that she asked Gov. Doug Ducey to consider certain metrics are met rather than a target date before on-campus learning returns.
“Like all educators, I want students back in the classroom because that’s the best place for learning and growing,” Hoffman wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
“However, we cannot ask schools to make decisions that will impact the teachers’ and students’ health and safety without first providing them with the necessary public health data and funding to make safe decisions.”
To align with the vision laid out in the Arizona Department of Education’s "Roadmap to Reopening Schools" and ensure educator and student safety, I’ve asked Governor Ducey to include, at a minimum, the following priorities in his upcoming plans to support our school communities: pic.twitter.com/Of7CsKWGPR
— Kathy Hoffman (@Supt_Hoffman) July 21, 2020
Metrics would include a downward trajectory of confirmed new cases and a decrease in positive test rates.
The positive rate for PCR tests completed last week was 16%. Hoffman has said she would like to see that number at 5%.
Arizona School Administrators, a Phoenix-based education nonprofit, recently wrote Ducey and asked for a similar reliance on metrics before a return to in-class instruction.
Another organization, the Arizona School Board Association, also wrote the governor, asking for county health officials to decide school reopenings based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An announced Aug. 17 restart date was aspirational, Ducey has said and not set in stone.
He also said there would be more discussions about reopening this week.
Hoffman also said in the letter distance learning was expensive and sought a guarantee of full funding.
“Whether their school buildings are safe to reopen or not, schools needs flexibility and budget stability for students and educators to succeed in the upcoming year,” she wrote.