PHOENIX— House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding and Senate Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios released the following statements regarding Gov. Ducey's executive order requiring schools to return to in-person learning by March 15.
"This sudden executive order on school reopening raises numerous questions. Many school districts have already meticulously crafted reopening plans that work best for their students and parents, and this Executive Order callously throws those plans into disarray," said Senator Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios. "Our top priority regarding schools reopening must be community health and safety and ensuring that our schools have the funding and PPE they need to keep students, teachers and staff safe, via adequate ventilation and social distancing. We shouldn't have to choose between public health and public schools. We all know that school is the best place for our students to learn, but we need to make decisions that protect our communities, children, teachers, support staff and parents. Arizona is finally seeing our COVID cases go down and now is not the time to relax our guard. We must remain vigilant and cautious to protect the lives of our children."
"Everybody wants schools to return to in-person learning. But the decision should not be taken away from locally elected governing boards and the staff, students and communities they serve – following guidance from their local health departments and public health experts," said Leader Bolding. "The fact remains that people are still contracting COVID-19 and dying in large numbers. Arizona is moving in the right direction, but when this year began we were seeing over 10,000 cases a day. Since that time less than 20 percent of our state has gotten vaccinated. Whenever Arizona puts itself in position to finally bend the COVID-19 curve, there has been an overreaction that creates new opportunities for the pandemic to re-emerge and spread. We don't want to relive one of those moments by mandating schools return to in-person learning in less than two weeks without providing resources, PPE and sufficient vaccinations to do so safely."