svusd

The Sierra Vista Unified School District board approved the return to in person instruction beginning September 14.

SIERRA VISTA — The Sierra Vista Unified School District Governing Board unanimously voted to start in-person instruction beginning Sept. 14 during Tuesday night’s special meeting.

Superintendent Eric Holmes recommended the start of in-person instruction at the high school, middle school and elementary schools. The board approved the two methods Holmes recommended.

The recommendation included K-8 students attend in-person instruction, while high school students will return to a hybrid model to allow for social distancing. SVUSD will still offer the flexible model for K-8 students.

“We had options for parents before the benchmarks changed everything,” Holmes said during Tuesday’s meeting. “We wanted to provide some of the options (from before).”

In an effort to be able to social distance at the high school, Holmes said the 1,400 students will be split in half and attend in-person instruction on an A-B schedule. The schedule will include two days of instruction on campus and three days of online instruction using the Google Classroom platform.

Middle and high school students will continue with the block schedules to allow for less movement between classrooms, with four lunches in order to have fewer students having lunch at the same time.

Holmes said this hybrid method will be used for the remainder of the first quarter and if the numbers are still low and holding a downward trend then they will resume five days of in-person instruction on Oct. 14 — which is the start of the second quarter.

“This allows us to keep an eye on data locally and nationally for the next four weeks,” Holmes said.

All students who attend in-person instruction will have their temperature taken when arriving at any school site and are required to wear masks even when social distancing. Holmes said requiring masks helps them keep in compliance with the CDC guidelines.

Board president Barbara Williams asked Holmes about transportation for students. Holmes said they will be able to transport all students and have 31 routes planned, which will be posted on the district website by the end of the business day on Thursday.

“We don’t foresee huge numbers on the buses,” Holmes said.

He added they are working on the logistics to be able to have the buses with hotspots still be parked throughout the city, but there may not be enough buses to still have them out.

Parents who wish to keep their child in a virtual setting can continue with the SchoolsPLP program, and K-8 students can continue with the flexible program. The flexible program will look different than it has for the last several weeks with the all virtual learning.

“(The flexible learning option) is an option we don’t have to (offer) but we want to provide,” Holmes said.

Teachers will no longer provide live classes since they will be teaching in person. Assistant Superintendent Terri Romo said lessons will be posted a week at a time and video will be recorded or from third-party sources. Students will no longer follow a live schedule and will be able to complete the work at any point during the day.

“We know there are parents who won’t be able to help their student until after their work,” Romo said.

She added parents will have to fill out a Google form to indicate whether or not their child “attended class” that day.

Nearly 70 percent of respondents to the last district survey wanted to send their children back to school. Before the board voted, Gabe Levine from the county health department explained the current data and what the county numbers actually mean.

The green check marks which can be found on the state health departments website means the county met the certain requirements. The numbers are plugged into another chart to determine whether the county falls in the minimal, moderate or substantial category.

The current data has Cochise County in the minimal category in two of the three benchmarks and moderate in the 100 per 100,000 cases benchmark.

Before the board voted, member Yulonda Boutte said she liked the plan because it gives parents options and doesn’t force parents to have to do something they are uncomfortable with. Fellow board member Hollie Sheriff agreed with Boutte’s statements.

“We’ve got a good plan,” she said. “Just hang in there everyone.”