Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District Superintendent Jeff Gregorich received the Arizona School Administration “Bastion of Courage Award” for his efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic in schools.
Over the past month Gregorich has spoken up about his concerns to re-open schools too early at both the state and national levels. He has been interviewed on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and NBC, and by the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post in August. The Waunakee Tribune also featured Gregorich in a story in August.
“The Bastion of Courage Award presented to Superintendent Jeff Gregorich on Aug. 24 recognizes school leaders that face difficult challenges, while bringing their school district and community together. His description of the challenges school leaders are facing in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic which appeared Aug. 1 in the Washington Post showed both courage and leadership and was dead on,” Arizona School Administration Association President Dr. Donna Lewis said.
“I am honored to be recognized by my peers, but I would like to dedicate this award to the memory of Mrs. Kimberly Byrd, our beloved first grade teacher that passed away from COVID-19 in June while teaching summer school. She was a daily example of excellence and courage in the classroom to me and everyone. Kim would want me and all her colleagues to speak up and let national and state leaders understand the consequences of opening up schools in-person too early,” Gregorich said.
“I want to see our students in-person again too, but if opening up schools before it’s safe means risking the lives of my teachers, staff, students, parents, and families, I would not recommend it,” added Gregorich.
The Hayden-Winkelman Unified School District started the school year with online instruction on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and will be online through Nov. 12, which is the end of the first quarter.
“We will review the state and county COVID-19 health metric data and will re-open school for in-person instruction after Nov. 12 only if, and when it’s safe,” he said.