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Cactus Shadows High School postpones in-person learning

"I understand that this is not what was expected," school principal Tony Vining said.

CAVE CREEK, Ariz — Cactus Shadows High School is canceling its plans to return to in-person learning, according to a Facebook post from the school's principal. 

The school is part of the Cave Creek Unified School District and originally had plans to return to in-person classes this Tuesday. The school can no longer safely do so due to a reported lack of staff, the principal said.

"At this time, we do not have enough staff to safely open and will need to revert to our distance learning model," school principal Tony Vining said. "I understand that this is not what was expected."

Vining said that it would be impossible to meet current safety guidelines with the current staffing numbers. He went on to say that another update will be given on Tuesday for the rest of the week.

You can read the principal's entire post here.

Some parents and students have expressed frustration with Vining's announcement while others understand the delay. 

Xander Simmons, a freshman at Cactus Shadows, went to school on Friday to get his school I.D. He's taking his classes online and is okay with the delay. However, he is looking forward to meeting his teachers and classmates in person. 

“I want to go to school but I don’t want to go to COVID school,” said Xander.  His mother Tami understands both sides.  

Cactus Shadows senior Nathan Williams is ready to go back to class. 

“I understand the caution the teachers are moving with, but I also feel like the students deserve a choice and I don’t feel like we have a choice right now,” said Nathan. His mother Michelle said that Nathan is a "strong young man" but he and other students are "losing hope quickly." 

“Online learning is a big challenge for these students and they really want to be back in the classroom where they learn the best,” said Michelle. "Hope for any return to their lives going to school, being able to learn how they need to, and social and emotional support. Their frustration is daily, zoom calls for online teaching are short, and the students eyes are dim with pain. They are crying out to be able to learn and have the support of their teachers." 

The Cave Creek Unified School District board voted unanimously for students to return to brick and mortar instruction. Teri Thatcher is running for a CCUSD board position in November. She said families deserve options for their students after the district met reopening benchmarks.  

“It’s just heartbreaking and heart-wrenching to see these high schoolers not be able to interact or engage.” 

12 News reached out to the school district regarding reports of resignations and teachers calling out and have yet to hear back. Teri Thatcher and others said there is a plan for parents and students to protest at the high school Tuesday morning. 

This is a developing story. Tune into 12 News for the latest details.