Arizona education group launches petition for stricter schools COVID plan
PHOENIX – Arizona’s largest public school employee group launched a petition urging Gov. Doug Ducey enact a coronavirus safety plan specifically for schools.
The Arizona Education Association petition went online late Monday afternoon, around the same time the group released a similar letter it sent to Ducey.
“We will update the governor as more and more Arizona parents sign on,” Joe Thomas, the group’s president, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday.
The petition and letter call for a comprehensive statewide plan to implement a mask mandate, additional funding for schools to shift to remote learning until January, timely contact tracing, sufficient personal protective equipment and more.
Thomas’ group represents more than 20,000 public school employees. COVID-19 cases in the state continue to trend upward.
The Arizona Department of Health Services tweaked its school benchmark recommendations in October. The new guidelines urge school districts transition from hybrid to virtual learning if all three benchmarks move to the substantial spread category for two weeks.
Previously, schools were urged to shift if only one of the benchmarks was in the most severe category for two weeks.
“The difference between now and last summer is schools and universities, largely, were not open. So we have more, especially teenage and college-age, students that are mixing more,” Thomas said.
“And they’re taking their lead from [the adults]. We’ve got to lead on this and the person leading out front has got to be Gov. Ducey,” he said.