As COVID-19 cases in Arizona are on the rise, the states plan to reopen schools is still in place. The Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman was on The Buckmaster Show to highlight the reopening plan. Hoffman said there was a partnership across the state with a group of “well over 100 people” from various backgrounds. They also partnered with the Arizona Department of Health Services, because as she recognized, “what is top of the mind of most people, is the health and safety of our students, and teachers, and staff, as we go back into the school buildings in the next academic year.” Hoffman said the plan is more like a road map which allows it to be “adaptable and flexible” and that these are not state mandates they’re recommendations – which will be handled by the district governing boards locally.
One of the measures The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends is adequate social distancing, but Hoffman did recognize that social distancing in schools and classroom settings will be very difficult given the shortage of personnel in schools. Hoffman said different communities will more than likely offer different options to best fit their community, potentially offering what she calls “hybrid options” which includes online and in-person education opportunities.
Superintendent Hoffman spoke to the challenge of moving to online schooling, as schools were shutting down in the spring, saying that about 20-percent of the students across the state don’t have access to internet, making online education very difficult. She noted that in Tucson specifically there was difficulty with connectivity (I.e. internet access) and access to devices. She also pointed out that these issues vary from community to community.
Listen to the full interview below.