Chandler USD will remain online for the first quarter. (Community Impact staff)
The Chandler USD governing board voted unanimously Aug. 5 to continue with remote learning through the first quarter of the school year and re-evaluate on Sept. 23 if the criteria for reopening schools has not yet been met as the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow across Arizona.
The state is expected to release metrics this week for reopening schools for in-person learning. Earlier this week State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said it was “unlikely” schools across Arizona would open for in-person learning on the target date of Aug. 17 set by Gov. Doug Ducey.
“A couple of weeks ago I said our kids need to be back in school …. but this is not the time to do that,” said Board Member David Evans during the meeting. “We are doing this for the welfare of our families, our staff and our students.”
Board Member Lara Bruner said it was not an easy decision to make for any of the board members, and that she had heard from parents, staff and students in “thousands” of emails for weeks leading—all with differing opinions.
“We are giving some type of stability to allow students and educators to prepare,” Bruner said. “There is no good answer.”
Aug. 5 marked the first day of virtual learning for Chandler USD. The district had allowed families to select either an in-person or online option for their students for the first quarter. Those who opted for in-person learning were began the year with virtual learning through Google Classroom.
According to the resolution, the district will arrange for free on-site learning opportunities and support services for students who need a place to go during the school day beginning Aug. 17 and will develop procedures to “help ensure that social distancing and other mitigation strategies are implemented for the free on-site programs.”