The fact that COVID-19 greatly affected 2020 is a constant topic of conversation. Now multiple vaccines are being rolled out and promise to get the world pretty much back to normal within months. Meanwhile, there has been an increase in cases in many areas, probably pushed by cold weather and people becoming more careless in their interactions. And many are consciously rebelling against restrictions, which are too strong in some locations. However, caution still is in order.
Schools everywhere have been greatly affected. In Pinal County alone, the various districts, charter and private schools have taken different approaches to on-site instruction. Distance learning certainly is challenging, but the recent trend in the area is to close buildings again because of more coronavirus cases.
Besides students, parents have been affected strongly, having to try to earn a living and at the same time stay with students and try to help teach them. Pinal parents mostly have done their best. In some parts of the state and nation, though, parents are fed up.
One area that has had strong objections to school closures is the Paradise Valley School District in the north Valley. Much of the ire was focused on the district superintendent, Jesse Welsh. That apparently is leading to his departure from the district effective Dec. 31. That comes at a great expense to taxpayers — $413,378, more than twice his annual salary.
Welsh had a three-year contract. It specified that a voluntary resignation would not allow a payoff. All this suggests that the impetus for his departure came from the school board.
Some other Valley superintendents have in recent years left with only a fraction of Welsh’s pay-out. And some of those left under a cloud.
More should be known about what led to this situation. Some parents no doubt will believe it was not worth the cost. They certainly have a right to make their wishes known regarding in-class instruction, and in some places, at least, there has not been enough of it. However, school superintendents are well paid, partially because of the challenges and pressures they face.
By comparison, Pinal districts, parents and apparently students have coped pretty well. We can only hope that they will not have to do that much longer.