Last night, the board of Tucson’s largest public school district voted to move forward with a hybrid learning model on Monday, Oct. 19, if Pima County’s downward COVID-19 data trends continue.
The Tucson Unified School District has been teaching the majority of its student body through remote learning since March, when in-person classes were canceled in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Although new cases spiked in June and July, a steady decrease in viral transmission throughout the state has been evident in recent weeks.
According to Pima County’s COVID-19 Progress Report, five of the nine health criteria are making “progress” or have been officially “met.” The progress report tracks local disease data, healthcare capacity and public health capacity.
Because of this, TUSD Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo recommended to the board members during their Sept. 9 meeting that the district embrace the public health data indicating it is safe for a hybrid model of education. This would comprise “some kind of a combination of return to traditional in-person learning, standing alongside the online learning model that parents will still be able to opt-in to,” Trujillo said.
While some district staff and families have expressed concern over reopening schools during a global pandemic, Trujillo said the entire plan is contingent on the Pima County Health Department’s recommendation that it is safe to move to a hybrid model during the week of Oct. 19. If Coronavirus cases begin to rise again, the plan may be put on hold.
The board also agreed to begin a phased reopening of district administration departments on Monday, Sept. 21.
At the board’s next meeting on Sept. 22, Trujillo will bring forward his initial proposal with more detail on what hybrid learning will look like in TUSD.
For more information, visit govboard.tusd1.org.