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Trump is visiting the battleground state for a third time this year. Photo: AL DÍA Archive
Trump is visiting the battleground state for a third time this year. Photo: AL DÍA Archive

Round three: Trump’s third visit to Arizona in 2020 comes as schools start to reopen

Over 100 teachers called in sick in response to schools reopening as a third Trump visit looms. 

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Arizona is a battleground state, and President Donald Trump is targeting it in earnest, even more so than his opponent, Joe Biden. 

This is the third time Trump has visited the Grand Canyon state in 2020. He’s set to brave the 111-degree heat on Tuesday in Yuma, Arizona, where he’s scheduled to visit the border wall construction efforts in the region.

It is the second such visit to the Border town this summer, but it comes with controversy, as Arizona’s situation in recent months has not been pretty.

Since May, the Arizona government, led by Governor Ducey, has repeatedly failed the public. 

Ducey decided to reopen the state prematurely, resulting in it becoming the nation’s hotspot for coronavirus. At its highest, the infection rate reached three times higher than New York state.

Not coincidentally, the decision came soon after President Trump visited Phoenix, where he met Ducey.

Ducey’s lack of early action in the face of COVID-19 is reminiscent of Gov. Greg Abbot in Texas and Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida — both states that are still battling coronavirus after late implementation of adequate CDC guidelines.

In mid-June, Trump returned to Arizona, holding a rally at a megachurch, before stopping by Yuma, Arizona, where he toured the construction of his border wall at a time when COVID-19 infection rates in the state were still sky-high.

In August, Trump then gave Ducey a promotion, appointing him as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Council of Governors that discusses issues affecting states and the federal government.

Now Trump is aiming to return to the Desert Southwest at a time when schools are beginning to reopen despite the virus still being prevalent in the area, putting teachers and student’s lives at stake.

In response, on Aug. 15, teachers in a school district outside of Phoenix staged a “sick out” in protest of schools reopening. 

The district’s board had voted to resume in-person education this Monday, despite the Phoenix metro area’s failing to meet benchmarks recommended by Arizona, the district told BuzzFeed News. 

Teachers were forced to take matters into their own hands.

At least 109 staff members collectively called in sick.

The J.O Combs Unified School District was forced to conceal all in-person classes, including virtual lessons, after teachers unified in saying they would not return to teach because of coronavirus concerns.

While new COVID-19 cases in Arizona have fallen since it became the top hotspot for the virus earlier this summer, numbers remain high.

As Trump prepares to visit Arizona for a third round, we must consider — these are the measures teachers are forced to take in order to protect themselves and their students. 

Instead of visiting to aid Arizona in its coronavirus response or raise awareness on the virus, the president is checking on his wall to gain favor with conservatives in the region. 

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