Chandler online academy calendar – Even as Chandler Unified prepares to begin the new school year with exclusively online programs on August 5, parents are divided on the district’s reopening plan.
When in-person courses start, tentatively on Aug. 17, parents were eager to either condemn or welcome the district’s move last month to enforce mandatory mask-wearing among students and staff.
Over the last few weeks, online petitions and Facebook groups have sprung up lobbying for Chandler Unified to take a pro-mask or anti-mask stance.
Some argue that masks are necessary for preventing a COVID-19 breakout, while others argue that they merely create a fear culture on campus.
One Chandler resident posted online, “I don’t agree with this mask thing.” “This isolates the children and makes them feel more alone.” When everyone’s face is disguised, how do you learn social skills?”
For the following school year, the school system aims to provide students the option of returning to school in person or completing their schoolwork online.
On June 24, the Governing Board of Chandler Unified spent nearly six hours questioning administrators about the logistics of reopening all 42 of the district’s campuses by August 5 before narrowly voting 3-2 to approve a plan that essentially gives students the option of deciding whether they feel safe enough to return to school amid an ongoing pandemic.
However, less than a week after the board’s decision, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order on June 29 prohibiting districts from reopening campuses until August 17 – a date he described as “aspirational” and which may yet be pushed back further.
Districts were authorized to start offering online learning before August 17 as a result of the mandate.
Parents have been advised that the district needs more time to fine-tune its campus reopening plan.
However, some parents are hoping that Ducey’s decision to postpone the reopening of schools will give Chandler Unified more time to overturn its obligatory mask policy.
“I’d be okay with a delay if it meant no masks,” one father said. “If my children require masks, I will not send them.”
The district’s initial reopening plan sparked debate among its Governing Board members, with some believing the plan didn’t go far enough to protect Chandler’s children’ health and safety.
Lara Bruner and Lindsay Love, both members of the school board, voted against the district’s two-option plan, citing fears that too many students might return at the same time.
“I can’t endorse this approach,” Bruner remarked, “though I wish I could.” “I’d want to see students back on campus.”
Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, Ducey has delayed campus reopenings and stated that he hopes the situation improves over the next month so that students can return to class.
If the virus doesn’t go away by Aug. 17, Bruner believes it will be impossible to establish any form of social distance on campuses, and the district will be in violation of state health department requirements.
Bruner anticipated that “our high schools will be shut down.”
Bruner, who has been a teacher for 28 years, offered an alternative, contingency plan to accommodate for the possibility that not enough students would choose to take online classes.
She suggested that the district divide the in-person students into two groups: one would come to school on Mondays and Wednesdays to take three classes, and the other would come to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays to take three classes. The remaining classes would be taken online by both groups.
Bruner said she didn’t feel comfortable voting for it because the district’s plan didn’t allow for this type of hybrid learning.
While the COVID-19 dilemma continues to affect Arizona, district officials acknowledged the difficulty of planning for the following school year.
Because parents have such a varied spectrum of perspectives on how CUSD should react to the epidemic, Superintendent Camille Casteel said the district is locked in a “no-win” situation.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution,” she explained. “Our community is divided on which course they believe we should take.”
Casteel noted that for every parent who wants the district to postpone its reopening date, there are an equal number who want the district’s calendar to remain untouched.
Despite the fact that some parents have asked CUSD not to reopen schools at all, administrators believe they must follow the state’s lead and prepare for the road map they’ve laid out.