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J.O. Combs Unified School Board makes decision on in-person learning


The J.O. Combs Unified School District board voted to return to in-person learning on September 8. In a meeting on Thursday night, board members decided to move forward with its version of a "hybrid" model. That means families will get to decide if they want to send their kids back to the classroom on the 8th or continue with online only schooling.

The back-to-school discussion has been a heated one in the district after more than 100 teachers called out the first week of in-person classes. After that, the district announced it would postpone in-person classes until at least Aug. 31.

Before the board made its decision, Arizona's Family caught up with parents who were eager for their kids to return to campus. "They are struggling with the online virtual learning, especially my son who has ADHD," said Rebecca Walker. "Makes it hard for him."

Last week Dr. David Nelson, the president of the Combs Education Association and a teacher in the district, told Arizona's Family some teachers just didn't feel safe yet. "I'll be happy to be called Chicken Little for the rest of the school year," he said. "I'll stand here every day and let everyone call me Chicken Little but I don't want to be standing here after I've just come back from another funeral."

Concerns from educators included proper training when it comes to cleaning and PPE, and Superintendent Dr. Greg Wyman addressed that Thursday night. The district did a survey of more than 500 employees and found that 46.1% of them will return to campus even if health metrics aren't met.

The J.O. Combs Unified School District is in Pinal County and it has not yet met all of the benchmarks recommended by state health officials. One board member noted though that they are getting really close, the numbers are moving downward and this was a difficult decision to make.

A spokesperson for the district, Kayla Fulmer, says it has had positive COVID-19 cases on campus, but could not specify how many and where. The district worked with the county health department for proper contact tracing, she said.

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Tuesday, 23 July 2024

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