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Protest held downtown to resume in-person learning for public schools

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Some parents and students protested outside of the Pima County Administration building on Tuesday over the health department's reluctance to advise schools to reopen for hybrid in-person learning.

The protest started out peaceful but it ended pretty tensely when they were met with one counter-protester.

Tucson Police Department responded and are investigating the incident. Just a show of how passionate both sides of the argument can get.

Those protesting Tuesday want the option for the kids to get back into the classroom.

"You know we've been reasonable as parents to wait and reach the metrics that they have placed before us and every time they do it, it keeps changing," Ammie Cooper said.

Just last week, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced that Pima County met benchmarks that allow schools to return to a hybrid form of education.

Pima County Health officials still say it's not yet safe to reopen and that schools should wait until October.

"Where I live in Oro Valley all the charter schools are open all the private schools are open," Renee Burrous said. "I believe that our schools could be open just like their schools."

We reached out to Pima County's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia on these parents concerns.

We were provided with the following statement:

"The ability to open public and charter schools is entirely the domain of the individual school boards and the Executive branch of state government.  The Governor’s Executive Order directs local health department to provide schools and school districts information to consider as they make these decisions. (That is what we have conveyed to the superintendents.)

In Pima County this consultation process involves the Back-to-School Taskforce made up of all the public school superintendents as well as representatives of the charter and private/parochial schools.  The County will continue to provide this technical support and feedback to schools as they make these difficult decisions. 

As a parent with two sons in the public school system I am acutely aware of the challenges that parents and guardians are dealing with. We are all actively working with school districts to develop safe strategies for moving into hybrid and face-to-face instruction.   Those plans are still in development. "

If you'd like to see Arizona Department of Health Services' Benchmarks to resume a hybrid form of learning and see where Pima County stands, click here.

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Denelle Confair

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