Arizona House Democrats
PRESS RELEASE: 'A good first step' - House Dems Respond to $240m COVID-19 Plan to Re-open Schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2020
PHOENIX – Democratic members of the House Education Committee responded with guarded optimism to a $240 million plan announced today by Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman to help schools re-open safely, facilitate remote learning and avoid budget cuts as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. You can read more about the plan and Gov. Ducey's executive order here.
Rep. Reginald Bolding, ranking Democratic member:
"As school districts prepare to re-open this fall with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, educators are looking for guidance, certainty, and resources to provide a safe campus learning environment or equitable remote-learning options. Today's executive order provides some much-needed flexibility for our schools to continue educating our students in a manner that helps ensure student and faculty safety. There is still some uncertainty over how distance learning will be funded and facilitated, which needs to be cleared up. This is a good first step, but these are the first steps in a marathon."
Rep. Jennifer Pawlik:
"I recently held an online conversation about going back to school and heard hundreds of questions and concerns from parents and teachers about how we can safely re-open our schools. People want certainty and open communication about what the 20-21 school year. This plan provides some of that clarity. I appreciate the flexibility to fund distance learning and investment in broadband infrastructure. Our rural and indigenous communities have less access to technology, and this could eventually help beyond education to allow telemedicine and opportunities to work from home in remote parts of our state."
Rep. Aaron Lieberman:
"Now that we know schools will have the flexibility to support hybrid distance learning options, the most important next step is to help every district strengthen their capacity to support high-quality distance learning. Combined with efforts to ensure low-income kids have access to broadband and devices, supporting high-quality distance learning will be the key driver in ensuring Arizona kids don't get left behind during this crisis."
Rep. Dr. Gerae Peten:
"The Governor's executive order hits the main points of concern that I have been hearing from constituents. One tremendous improvement for our teacher's professional development would be to create a comprehensive curriculum to support virtual instruction to support teaching and learning. And as next step, we should fund community colleges around the state to facilitate the course and give teachers continuing education credits for completing the course."