U.S. School Districts Cancel Classes With Increasing Staff Absences
President Donald Trump has been pushing schools to reopen even before the start of the fall semester.
Trump called on Democrats to work with Republicans to craft the latest coronavirus relief bill, which includes $105 billion funding to help schools reopen for in-person learning.
There have been criticisms on his encouragement to open schools for the fall semester. Many U.S. school districts are disagreeing.
Parents and teachers altogether are voicing out concerns on schools reopening.
In Arizona, a 61-year-old Arizona school teacher died after testing positive for COVID-19 on June 13. Two co-teachers were also exposed to the virus.
This was even before schools officially decided to reopen.
In Mississippi, state Governor Tate Reeves released an executive order postponing the start of seven through 12-grade schools in the state's hot spot areas recently.
This, after seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases in Mississippi.
Many U.S. school districts are being forced to cancel their reopening plans as teachers, and other staff members call sick.
U.S. School Districts
The J.O Combs Unified School District in Arizona's Pinal County was forced to cancel Monday classes after over 100 staff members called sick.
The school district said that with insufficient staffing levels, schools will not be able to reopen on Monday.
The Arizona school district also said that this means virtual learning will also 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," the school district was quoted in a statement.
The school district said they would continue to observe the situation and update no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday.
Some activists in Arizona said they hope teachers across the country will do the same strategy to keep educators safe.
In Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the country's second-largest school district, launched a coronavirus testing and contact tracing program at schools.
This, according to Superintendent Austin Beautner.
The school district is set to reopen with virtual learning on Tuesday.
Beutner said that testing contract tracing efforts is unprecedented but necessary and appropriate.
He added that this would provide a public health benefit to the school community, but also to the greater Los Angeles area.
Despite teachers' and staff's opposition to schools reopening, hundred of parents and students held a rally in Phoenix last week.
This to support resuming in-person classes, according to a The Guardian report.
Some parents claimed that in-person classes are the best choice for their children's physical, mental, and emotional state.
Children Are "Almost Immune"
Trump said that children should return to U.S. schools as they are "almost" or "virtually immune" to the coronavirus disease.
However, even if they are said to be immune to the virus, they can still expose those in their households or communities who are vulnerable to have severe symptoms.
However, a study suggests that younger kids have similar levels of virus and maybe even higher than adults.
"It wouldn't be surprising if they were able to shed [the virus]" and spread it to others," Heald-Sargent, who also led the research, was quoted in a report.
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