Arizona schools chief calls out districts for resuming in-person learning

Aug 13, 2020, 4:58 PM | Updated: 9:51 pm

Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Kathy Hoffman speaks the latest Arizona coronavirus ...

Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Kathy Hoffman speaks the latest Arizona coronavirus update during a news conference Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)

(AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)

PHOENIX — Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman called out Arizona districts Thursday that intend to resume in-person learning despite counties not meeting recommended benchmarks to reopen.

“I think that’s really toxic for the community that they’re making decisions that are putting their staff and their teachers’ lives at risk,” Hoffman said during a meeting with the University of Arizona’s Education Policy Center. “It’s very devastating.”

Hoffman said she was disappointed with districts like Queen Creek Unified, J.O. Combs Unified and the 12-campus American Leadership Academy charter school system.

Those districts have decided to begin on-campus learning Monday, the first day allowed under state requirements.

Zero Arizona counties currently meet the recommended benchmarks for reopening.

Ultimately, districts have the final say in the matter.

“I know that this is challenging for our school leaders…but we need to adhere to the metrics and take the virus seriously,” Hoffman said.

Gov. Doug Ducey didn’t take issue with districts opening in defiance of the state’s recommendations.

“We’re supportive of the districts,” he said during a press conference Thursday.

When asked what he thought about educators reluctant to work on campus where the benchmarks haven’t been met, Ducey said, “There’s a lot of teachers that can’t wait to get to the front of the classroom.”

Hoffman voiced her concerns about the possibility of teacher shortages during the meeting.

At least one teacher in the Queen Creek district won’t return to his classroom after the school board voted to resume in-person learning.

Districts will offer virtual and hybrid learning options throughout the year, even when in-person instruction resumes.

“It’s so detrimental to the health and well-being of the community,” Hoffman said. “It has a very negative impact on the school culture.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures at a campaign rally Saturd...

Associated Press

Donald Trump wins Missouri and Idaho caucuses, sweeps Michigan GOP convention

Trump continued his march toward the GOP nomination, winning caucuses in Idaho and Missouri and sweeping the convention in Michigan.

11 hours ago

Maine man, 79, dies while hiking Pyramid Trail in Sedona...

Damon Allred

Gov. Katie Hobbs announces Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, establishes chief heat officer

Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the state's first Extreme Heat Preparedness Plan, creating the country's first state level heat officer.

11 hours ago

Kacey Musgraves, center, performs at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Su...

Kacey Musgraves to play Glendale concert in September

Seven-time Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves is scheduled to perform at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale on Sept. 27.

14 hours ago

Jose Andres Guerrero Talamantes...

Arrest made in fatal hit-and-run case in Carefree from December

Police arrested a man on Friday on felony hit-and-run charges involving death as part of an investigation into a crash that occurred in Carefree.

16 hours ago

Traffic is backed up on Interstate 10 near State Route 347 south of metro Phoenix...

Report lists Phoenix, Tucson among U.S. cities with worst drivers

Two Arizona cities have landed in the top 10 of a national ranking of places with the worst drivers in the nation.

18 hours ago

Caution tape in front of police car....

2 police officers injured in crash with suspected impaired driver in Phoenix

Two police officers suffered minor injuries in a two-vehicle crash in central Phoenix early Saturday morning.

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Arizona schools chief calls out districts for resuming in-person learning