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Educators and community members hold protest for safe school re-opening

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TUCSON (KVOA) - As Arizona takes the top spot for rising COVID-19 cases in the world, educators want to delay the start of school.

Organizers put together a motor march to send a message to Gov. Doug Ducey.

Teachers say that they can't return to school until there has been a 14-day decline of cases in a county for the safety of students, teachers and staff.

Over 180 cars and cyclists joined the march starting at Tucson Magnet High School and ending with a loop downtown.

The motorcade ran for an hour and an organizer says what they're asking for is simple.

"We want a plan from the governor to re-open schools safely and we want that plan based on science and data and evidence, not an arbitrary date," said Wes Oswald, member of the Tucson Education Association.

With Arizona schools start dates set in August some teachers, parents and students think the decision to hold in-person classes is too soon.

"I agree with them, we just need to keep the teachers, staff and the kids safe," said Ryan Kuchta, an eighth-grader at Desert Sky Middle School.

Oswald said he already knows of one teacher who has quit their job and another who chose to retire early rather than put themselves in an environment where they could contract COVID-19.

"Because of this lack of leadership teachers and educators are really scared and working on making our own plans because clearly no one is making them for us," said Oswald.

Protesters wrote signs on their cars while others held them in support as they drove by.

"We want our teachers to know that they're not alone in this fight. I mean all of us parents, we want to make sure they're just as safe because they protect our kids every day and this is the least we can do," said Sonya Kuchta, Ryan's mother.

Gov. Doug Ducey said that instead of opening schools in early August, the 17th will be the first day schools will be open this year.

Mark Mingura

Mark Mingura joined KVOA as a Multi Media Journalist in October 2019. Originally from the valley and with ties to Tucson, Mark is excited to get back to his home state and tell the stories of the Old Pueblo.

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