September 3, 2020 Press Releases

Arizona Schools Face Reopening Crisis As Trump, Ducey Continue Downplaying the Risk of Coronavirus

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Thursday, September 3, 2020

CONTACT: Tyler Cherry, tcherry@azdem.org

Arizona Schools Face Reopening Crisis As Trump, Ducey Continue Downplaying the Risk of Coronavirus

Biden-Harris Campaign Releases Plan to Reopen Schools Safely as Trump Abandons Teachers and Families

PHOENIX — Since the Arizona school year began in August, several reports have documented how students, teachers, and parents have been thrown into crisis and how a lack of clear guidance on how to reopen schools safely has endangered families across the state.

Multiple schools have closed after potential COVID-19 exposure, and a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that Arizona ranked first among states for children testing positive for the virus with 1,206.4 cases per 100.000 children. Teachers and parents are concerned about inadequate protections to keep students safe. School facilities are ill-equipped to slow the spread of infection. And Arizona families are trying to balance their checkbooks in Trump’s failing economy while struggling to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, and Doug Ducey have failed to offer clear guidance on how to safely reopen schools. Instead, Trump has made reckless threats to cut off federal funding from our already-underfunded schools unless they give in to the administration’s demands to reopen — even as Arizona surpasses over 5,000 deaths due to COVID-19. DeVos has gone so far as to welcome COVID-19 as a “good thing.”

In contrast, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have the steady leadership needed to safely reopen schools and keep students and families safe. The campaign has laid out a clear five-step roadmap to support local decision-making on reopening schools safely and to help students whose learning was interrupted.

The campaign also called on FEMA to authorize and guarantee full access to disaster relief and emergency assistance for K-12 schools under the Stafford Act and for Congressional leaders to immediately pass emergency support funding.

In response, Arizona Democratic Party Chair Felecia Rotellini said: 

“All Arizona families want our kids back in school — but the key is doing so safely. Instead, Trump is demanding schools reopen without the proper equipment and testing — and without a real plan to keep teachers, students, and staff safe. He’s even threatened to withhold federal funding from Arizona’s already-underfunded schools unless they comply with his demands. Without a doubt, Trump, DeVos and Ducey, continue their quest to ruin our public school system by using their pandemic crisis as a reason to scrap it.

Parents are already worried about paying their bills and juggling the responsibilities of child care as a result of Trump’s cratered economy. Now, they have to worry about the health and safety of their kids and families because of Trump’s and Ducey’s incompetence.

We need real leadership from the White House — not reckless threats to cut off funding unless all schools reopen. Arizona families deserve better. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have proven that they will work with experts and scientists to implement their reopening roadmap so kids, educators, and staff can safely go back to school. They will empower local leaders and teachers to make the best decisions on behalf of our children.”

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