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One year after school closure announcement, some are ready to open up classrooms again

On March 15, 2020, the governor and state superintendent announced schools were closing. This year, an order is set to open some classrooms back up.

PHOENIX — One year after the governor and state superintendent announced they were closing in-person learning in 2020, an executive order will try to put kids back in the classroom. 

Earlier this month, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order requiring almost all schools to have an in-person option by March 15.

The impact will be limited, as many schools already offer an in-person option, while others, like Phoenix Union, were planning on returning on Monday anyway.

In a thread on Twitter, Ducey said, "The (CDC) has laid out a path for every school to open safely. Public health experts nationally have spoken about the importance of getting kids back in school. In Arizona, teachers have been prioritized for the vaccine, and many school districts are reporting that nearly all of their educators have received both doses."

Schools in counties with high COVID-19 transmission, which includes Coconino and Pinal, are exempt under the order. A student may also continue participating in virtual instruction if their parent or guardian chooses to do so. 

“There is no right answer, there are kids that are going to get lost and thrown away if we don’t have in person school. There's also people who are losing their lives over COVID," Jon Ladd, a parent of a son who goes to Corona Del Sol said. 

Ladd said his son, needs to be back in the classroom.

Jon is a single parent and said that his son has struggled with online classes.

“For us, the risk of him not getting his education is bigger than the risk of him getting COVID," Ladd said. 

Ladd said while most of the families he knows are ready to return to in-person learning, he said there needs to be an option for parents who are not ready.

Monica Gellman, who has three kids returning to school tomorrow, is nervous.

She would like schools to look at reopening in two weeks, to see if the area sees another surge after kids have returned from spring break. 

She expressed concerns that, despite the best efforts of the schools, they will not be able to properly socially distance because of class sizes. 

“A large class sizes have never been a good thing for students, but now we are dealing with it not just being bad for education and learning, but potentially unhealthy,” Gellman said.

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