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November 2: Board votes to continue Distance Learning for all students through the end of the first semester

Board Votes to Continue Distance Learning for all Students Through the First Sememster

On Monday, November 2, School Board voted to continue distance learning for all students until through the remainder of the first semester.

There are several items which were considered by the Board in making this decision:

  • The School was scheduled to begin in-person instruction for those parents/students who chose on November 16.  (Any parent/student has the option to continue distance learning through the school year).
  • As of the most recent reports from the State and Coconino County prior to the Nov 3 Board meeting, the community serviced by the district did not meet the Arizona Department of Health guidelies for safe opening for in-person instruction.
  • If the school openined on November 16, students and staff have to learn learn new routines, then students would leave for a week for Thanksgiving, and on return, have only three weeks before again leaving for two weeks for Winter Break.  Concern was expressed that this would be disruptive.
  • Concern was also expressed regarding the possible exposure to the coronavirus during travel Thanksgiving and Winter breaks.  Having students back in-person after these breaks may contribute to heightened risk of virus pread.
  • Shifting to in-person instruction after winter break may require substantial restructuring of the instruction model to address both in-person and distance learning needs.  This disruption would come just before end of semester finals and benchmark testing.
  • The school does provide in-person, on-site support services for any parent who asks, so parents needing their children in school currently have that option, and the school administration has recommeded students who are struggling to participate.

There was substantial discussion on this topic during the November 2 Special Board Meeting.  The Board accepted input from the audiance during the meeting.

The Board members all acknowledged that this was a difficult decision, however weighing the current increase in outbreaks across the country as colder weather sets in, the current community spread levels weighed against the Arizona Department of Health Services guidelines, the need for social and emotional support for our students, and potential impact to student learning of any decision; the Board voted to delay start of in-person instruction until the end of the first semester.