In July, Gregorich lost elementary teacher Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd to the virus after team teaching summer school. Two other teachers were also infected even though the team followed all safety precautions, he said.
“They were team teaching because we were trying to learn to use the online tools because of the second wave we’re expecting in the fall,” he said. “We wanted to be prepared this time around and that didn’t work.”
Gregorich said, as an elementary educator, he doesn’t believe young students will be able to follow social distancing guidelines with no way of monitoring asymptomatic carriers.
“So many of my children, students go home to their multi-generation families in a close-knit community,” he said. “And I don’t see how it’s not going to be transmitted to their grandparents and throughout our community.”
The superintendent said his goal is to keep his staff and the school’s families safe until a vaccine is developed while using advanced online education that was not available in March.
“I don’t think you could just put kids into a classroom and they’re going to learn,” he said. “I’m scared for teachers in Arizona. I’m scared for teachers throughout America [at] risk of catching it … We can’t afford to lose more Kim’s.”