PHOENIX — While schools are wrapping up an unprecedented year, eyes are already moving to what the 2020-2021 school year could look like.
Gov. Doug Ducey said this week he wants to see schools back come the fall.
“It is responsible and prudent to plan ahead for schools,” Ducey said.
The CDC released brand new recommendations for schools this week. Among the guidance, the CDC says desks should be placed six feet apart, cloth face coverings should be worn by staff and students, and supplies shouldn’t be shared.
As for communal places like dining halls and playgrounds with shared equipment, the CDC is recommending those be closed off or have staggered use.
Joe Thomas, a Mesa social studies teacher and president of the Arizona Education Association, said if there’s a way to go back safely, teachers will make it happen.
"I don’t see the data showing that pathway right now. I think that we are a long way from assuming we will be back in schools without a lot of changes,” Thomas said.
As for Arizona’s plan, the Governor’s office said they’re working with the Arizona school superintendent and public health officials.
The Arizona Department of Education wrote in part in a statement to 12 News they have a task force working on developing guidelines for schools.
“At the beginning of May, the Arizona Department of Education convened a task force to provide local school communities with adaptable and flexible guidelines for their use as they plan for reopening in the upcoming academic year...The guidelines will provide schools with recommendations and considerations around public health, school finance, social-emotional resources, and technology needs."
While the Department of Education has the plan to release the guidance on June 1, ultimately the decision on how to implement the state’s guidance for schools will be up to local districts and charter schools.
Thomas said factors like class size, feasibility of keeping everyone safe and resources will all have to be considered.
"We have to address all those issues and then decide can we look parents in the eye and say your kids are going to be safe at school in a traditional setting or do we need to say we’re going to keep it online and distance learning a little bit longer,” Thomas said.