Aug 15, 2020 - Health

Arizona teachers' strike over coronavirus concerns cancels class

Illustration of a line of spaced out desks receding far into the background

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A school district near Phoenix, Arizona, said it will not reopen on Aug. 17 as planned because too many teachers have refused to show up over health and safety concerns.

By the numbers: More than 100 of the approximately 250 teachers who work for the district said they would be absent on Monday, a district spokesperson told AZCentral on Friday.

The district, which encompasses seven schools, opted to move forward with its reopening even though it had fallen short of benchmarks for in-person schooling set by the Arizona Department of Health Services.

What they're saying: Gregory Wyman, superintendent of J. O. Combs Unified School District, said in a letter to families posted Friday that the district received an "overwhelming response" from staff indicating they do not feel safe returning to classrooms because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • "Due to these insufficient staffing levels, schools will not be able to re-open on Monday as planned," Wyman said. "This means that all classes, including virtual learning, will be canceled. At this time, we do not know the duration of these staff absences, and cannot yet confirm when in-person instruction may resume."

Student will still have access to breakfast and lunch services.

Go deeper: The pandemic’s disruption to education will have social, economic repercussions for years

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