Chandler schools delay in-person learning, Gilbert opts for more hybrid
PHOENIX – The governing board for Chandler Unified School District voted Monday to delay returning to in-person learning for two weeks, while Gilbert Public Schools’ board voted to stay in hybrid mode for four weeks.
Citing coronavirus concerns following the holiday break, the Chandler district’s board voted to delay a return to classroom learning until Jan. 19 to allow for students and families to quarantine following holiday travel.
Gilbert had originally planned to begin one week of hybrid learning starting Tuesday, then open to full campus learning Jan. 11. After Monday’s vote, K-12 students will be learning virtually through Jan. 29.
Chandler Unified said Tuesday will be used as a teacher preparation day before virtual learning begins Wednesday.
Board members voiced concerns about the lack of mask enforcement on campuses and worry staff, students and the community have gotten lax with coronavirus mitigation efforts.
In a survey of staff conducted by the Chandler Education Association, 65% of respondents did not feel safe returning to work in-person on Tuesday.
The district was bracing for possible sickouts by teachers amid coronavirus concerns. Gilbert Public Schools were bracing for a similar situation.
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman made pleas over the weekend for schools to delay the return to in-person learning for two weeks following winter break. Gov. Doug Ducey’s office said he would not consider Hoffman’s request.
The decisions come as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Arizona. On Monday, Arizona health officials reported 5,158 new coronavirus cases and three additional deaths, bringing the state’s documented totals for the pandemic to 561,542 COVID-19 infections and 9,064 fatalities.