Valley students head back to school hoping for a more normal experience after COVID-19 | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

As the school year begins for some in the Valley, many students and teachers are hoping that going back to school is normal once again after a rough year navigating COVID-19 protocols.

At Anderson Junior High School, principal Allyson Stewart says everyone is excited to be back. “We had orientation day last Friday. You could feel it in the air. Kids were excited to be back and seeing their buddies.”

Because of the pandemic, school last year consisted mostly of virtual learning, social distancing and wearing masks.

Not all COVID-19 protocols are off the table, however. Stewart says teachers will be asked to clean their classrooms three times a day.

“The door knobs and desks and anything shared, supplies, anything little hands touch, we want to clean to do everything we can to keep schools open,” Stewart says.

Even though COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Arizona and across the US, some parents are still not too concerned with their children heading back to their desks.

Jayme Thrailkill, a Chandler Unified mom, says she won’t ask her kids to wear masks and she’s not concerned about COVID-19.

With safety precautions and hand sanitizer in every classroom, Stewart asks for the community’s support in keeping kids healthy.

“It used to be a thing, maybe send your kid to school a little sniffly or sick, so hopefully that’s over now. So we just ask for the community support, do your part, we’ll do ours and we’ll cross our fingers for an awesome year, Stewart says.

Students and families will not be asked if they’ve been vaccinated, Stewart said.

Anderson Junior High School, Florence, Chandler and Queen Creek unified school districts head back to school on July 21. 

Arizona health officials reported Tuesday 1,154 new COVID-19 cases but no new deaths.

This is the second consecutive day of more than 1,000 confirmed new cases across the state. This brings Arizona’s total number of cases since the pandemic started to 910,436. The number of deaths remains at 18,117.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has recently enacted laws prohibiting schools from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine or masks, even going so far as to sending letters of reprimand to districts that implemented quarantine measures.

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