Madison Elementary School District Will Continue With In-Person Classes

By Rocio Hernandez
Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - 7:51am

At a Tuesday meeting, the Madison Elementary School District’s governing board had considered the possibility of returning students to distance learning, but ultimately chose not to put the motion for a vote. 

The board held the discussion in reaction to COVID-19 metrics at or close to substantial spread levels in the city of Phoenix. The meeting was held two weeks after a district employee died after contracting COVID-19. 

Superintendent Kenneth Baca held a moment of silence for Nawai Kalai and said he was described as a gentle giant who sang to students to get them through the virtual classes. 

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During the meeting, the board heard from an overwhelming number of parents such as Karen Fish who said returning to online classes would be devastating for students’ learning and social and emotional health. Fish's letter was read during the meeting and signed by more than 200 parents. 

“Our schools and their daily service are of critical importance to our community for academic growth, mental, social health and economic welfare," Fish said in her letter. "For reasons and others, keeping our schools open should be our number one priority.” 

Baca noted that students aren't the only ones struggling during this time. Baca has heard that educators teaching both in-person and online students are under stress.

“The mental health of our teachers is extremely worrisome to me, and I’m really concerned for some of the teachers with the burnout," he said. "We need to do something to relieve that stress.” 

The board is holding a special meeting next week to discuss ideas on how to support its educators and improve online learning.

One idea on the table is reducing in-person classes to four-days a week and adding one day of independent, at-home learning.

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