Coronavirus: Arizona school system nixes Monday reopening after teachers stage ‘sickout’

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. — An Arizona public school system has canceled plans to reopen Monday after more than 100 teachers and staff members called in sick to protest unsafe teaching conditions during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We have received an overwhelming response from staff indicating that they do not feel safe returning to classrooms with students,” Gregory Wyman, superintendent of the J. O. Combs Unified School District in Pinal County, wrote in a statement issued Friday.

The 109 J.O. Combs teachers and staff who called in sick represented nearly 20% of the district’s 600-member staff, The Guardian reported.

“Due to these insufficient staffing levels, schools will not be able to reopen on Monday as planned,” Wyman stated, noting that “all classes, including virtual learning, will be canceled” until further notice.

According to state public health data, not a single district in Arizona currently meets all three metrics to safely resume mixed in-person and online learning, the Arizona Republic reported.

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