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Queen Creek schools are opening on Monday, teachers and parents have differing views on it

Some teachers are fearful for the reopening of classrooms amid the continuing COVID-19 issue in the state, but parents are ready.

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. — Starting Monday, Aug. 17, Queen Creek students will be heading back to the classroom--in person. 

The Queen Creek Unified School District voted to go back to school last week, despite the state being behind on state decided COVID-19 benchmarks.

Some parents said that they are excited while many teachers said reopening is dangerous. 

The decision to reopen has been controversial. One that has caused some to send in resignations. 

“The back-and-forth and not knowing has been the worst part honestly,” Brynn Larson, mother of five, said. “I am not fearful at all for them to go back. I think of the safety precautions the district has put in place are adequate.”

Queen Creek schools have defied the state’s recommendations that schools not open for in-person learning until certain health benchmarks have been met.

Queen Creek Schools posted videos showing how the school will look with social distancing complete with traffic lanes in the hallways.

But some parents and teachers are not on board with the reopening. One of whom is now-former teacher Brad Charles.

The long-time science teacher quit because he said his risk for COVID-19 was a deterrent. And because the district outsources its online learning, there was no other option for him than in-person teaching.

“I’m kind of in an uncomfortable position, to say the least,” Charles said.

Under his contract, the district can charge him damages if he quits. Other teachers have been faced with the same fines.

“It’s pretty much gonna be my entire next paycheck,” Charles said. 

The president of the Queen Creek teacher’s union quit on Friday over his frustrations with the district. “To have to sit there and constantly fight to have our district to listen to the bare minimum public health recommendations. It’s just not a situation I can teach in,” he said. 

The district said fewer than 10 teachers have resigned and school is still on for Monday.

But for Brynn Larson going back to school is about more than the virus. She said her kids have been regressing without school. Their grades suffered and her special needs son did not get the help he needed.

“I am very worried about the lasting impact educationally for my children,” Larson said. 

A few other schools statewide are also opening tomorrow, but the JO Combs district in San Tan Valley canceled it’s reopening after teachers staged a sick out.

The majority of Arizona schools will start online learning only.

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