ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona teachers union leader says tweet wasn’t advocating sick-out ‘in any way’

Jan 4, 2022, 11:58 AM
(Pixabay Photo)...
(Pixabay Photo)
(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX – An Arizona teachers union leader said his tweet about staffing shortages possibly affecting school operations wasn’t a threat for a sick-out, but a heads-up for parents as the omicron variant fuels a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“Parents should be preparing for a temporary shift to remote learning. It will be due to not enough staff being able to report for work,” Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas tweeted Monday, the first morning of classes after the winter break.

Thomas told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show he wasn’t advocating a sick-out “in any way, shape or form.”

“I was reacting to text messages, to emails, to conversations, to social media posts, to what I am seeing in the news that’s indicating that educators are very worried about … what they were walking back into today, what they will be walking into tomorrow,” he said Monday afternoon.

Even though it’s proving to produce less severe illness than previous COVID-19 variants, omicron is causing a spike in infections because it’s so contagious.

Arizona’s seven-day average for new cases has more than doubled since the day after Christmas, and the number of COVID-related inpatients in the state’s hospitals is at its highest level in two weeks, according to the latest data.

Thomas’ tweet drew responses from at least two Republican candidates for governor. Matt Salmon tweeted that Thomas “is pushing to lock down schools again,” while Karrin Taylor Robson tweeted that “the Arizona teachers union is threatening a sick-out.”

Thomas said he was “trying to be helpful” and didn’t think the tweet “was that controversial.”

“But the politicians will jump on it and try to make it into something else, and that doesn’t help us at all,” he said.

Thomas said his intention was to alert parents so they have time to think about child care options and other adjustments that a move to remote learning would require.

“How do I prepare for that in a sense that it might be a day, it might be a few days — nothing permanent at all and certainly nothing orchestrated by educators,” he said.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Facebook photo/Fry's Food Stores)...
KTAR.com

Fry’s Food Stores to open new Queen Creek location next month

Fry’s Food Stores is opening its new Queen Creek location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday morning.
8 hours ago
(AP Photo/Dar Yasin)...
Associated Press

Navajo Nation increases ability to do COVID testing, vaccinations

Health facilities on the Navajo Nation are increasing the ability to test for COVID-19 and vaccinate people as the omicron variant spreads, tribal leaders said.
8 hours ago
Georgia Lord (Facebook File Photo/City of Goodyear, AZ - USA)...
KTAR.com

Memorial service for former Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord to be held on Friday

A celebration of life will be held Friday for former Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord, who died last month at the age of 83, the city announced.
8 hours ago
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)...
KTAR.com

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, agriculture chief to speak on wildfire mitigation plan

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are set to make an announcement Tuesday about the Western Wildfire Mitigation Strategy.
8 hours ago
(AP File Photo/Elaine Thompson)...
KTAR.com

Arizona health department: ERs are for medical emergencies, not COVID-19 testing

The Arizona Department of Health Services said Friday that because emergency rooms are at the front line of the COVID-19 response, the community should remember the rooms are reserved for medical emergencies only and not for COVID-19 testing.
8 hours ago
(AP File Photo/Martin Meissner)...
Associated Press

Yuma hospital receives aid from Air Force team to care for COVID patients

A 15-member Air Force medical augmentation team is helping with staff shortages amid increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients at Yuma Regional Medical Center.
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona State University

This is the best year to get your MBA

Getting a master’s degree is a major commitment of time, energy, and money, so returning to school — even if you’re thinking about a part-time program that allows you to keep working — is one of the biggest decisions of your career.
...
Canvas Annuity

Annuity basics: how to retire with a guaranteed paycheck for life

Does the thought of retirement fill you with stress or with happiness? Everyone wants to spend their retirement in a way that brings them the most joy, whether that’s traveling the world or spending extra time at home with grandkids.
...
Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
Arizona teachers union leader says tweet wasn’t advocating sick-out ‘in any way’