SIERRA VISTA — Superintendent Kelly Glass updated the Sierra Vista Unified School District Governing Board about her and her team’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic during Tuesday’s board meeting.
Students, teachers and administrators haven’t been inside the district schools since leaving for spring break in March. Glass said all of the schools have been cleaned and sanitized, as there was an order in April to do so, with the buildings remaining untouched for 14 to 20 days afterward.
Since then, minimal staff have had access to the buildings and few will until early June. Glass said Tuesday night the main reason staff has not returned to the schools yet is because the district doesn’t have the required personal protective equipment (PPE) for the staff.
“We only have 22 masks,” Glass said on Tuesday. She added they were going to be used by staff on Wednesday for a project in the “PAC” at Buena High School.
“We can’t bring the staff back because we can’t keep them safe,” Glass said.
The superintendent noted an order for PPE, thermometers and hand sanitizer has been placed but are pending. Board President Barbara Williams commended Glass and her team for their hard work during the pandemic and the adaptations they had to make during this time.
Glass said as of Tuesday the plan is to have 12-month employees return to the schools starting June 8 and health screenings, like temperature checks, will be done when anyone enters the building. To start, campuses will be open to the public by appointment only.
Only students or teachers who are moving out of state or are leaving the district are allowed to get belongings left at the school before the pandemic, but need to contact the school principals for more information and to set a time to do so.
The board was provided a packet of resources and guidelines collected by Glass and her team. A copy of those documents were requested by the Herald/Review, but were not recieved by presstime.
Supplemental board documents are normally posted on the district’s website prior to meetings and provided to in-person attendees, but the Herald/Review was told Thursday to make a public records request for the documents by district officials.
During the meeting, Glass told the board roughly $40,000 has been spent because of COVID-19 and that number will increase. The plan is to purchase equipment to help the custodial staff sanitize better. She mentioned backpacks that hold sanitizer which allow the custodial staff to clean efficiently and said they cost $2,000 a piece.
Glass said when the schools were closed for the year, she and her team began discussions about what to do for the start of the new year. They discussed fully returning, continuing virtual learning and a blended combination — some in-person instruction and some virtual.
However, Glass said they were told it’s against legislation to have a blended format. She said the penalty for having a blended format would be the district would only receive 85 percent of their state funding.
Glass’ focus right now is on getting the staff back in the buildings safely and no other decisions about the fall will be made in the near future. Surveying the staff and families for their input about how to progress in the fall is an idea on the table, she said.
Glass and her team are awaiting guidelines for schools opening in the fall from State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman, which school be coming before the end of the month.