Ducey, Hoffman not on same page when it comes to school re-opening

Kathy Hoffman, Arizona superintendent of public instruction

THATCHER —There is conflicting information coming out of Phoenix when it comes to the opening of schools.

Gov. Doug Ducey is currently holding to an Aug. 17 re-opening of Arizona schools, but Kathy Hoffman, the state superintendent of public instruction, said opening to in-person instruction should be delayed.

“Our teachers in Arizona, they want to re-enter their classrooms, and they want to be with their students as soon as it is safely possible,” she said during a Wednesday press conference. “However, it is clear that, right now, it is not safe to do so. And a reckless attempt to re-open without granting those decisions and data will put the lives of our educators and our students at risk.”

Meanwhile, local school administrators are working on the best way to get children back in the classroom, should the Aug. 17 date not be pushed back.

In a letter to parents, Thatcher administrators detailed three options — tradition in-person, distant, and remote learning plans. The in-person option contains physical distancing plans and encourages the wearing of face masks by students.

Safford is asking parents to complete a survey on whether children should have in-person or remote instruction. Go to https://bit.ly/3h6gUZY to offer input.

And Fort Thomas announced it would begin the year with distance learning for all students.

In the interim, Graham County Substance Abuse Coalition announced it would hold its annual Back to School fair this Saturday. The fair offers parents and children an opportunity to gather free school supplies and clothing, as well as information from local service providers.

The change this year is that the fair is being held in conjunction with the annual Dump the Drug event, which gives residents the opportunity to safely dispose of unwanted and expired prescription medications to local law enforcement. And both events will be drive-though.

The events will take place in the Mark Allen Hall parking lot at Eastern Arizona College, from 8-11 a.m.