High School empty lot

The parking lot at Willcox High School was eerily empty Friday afternoon.

COCHISE COUNTY- Willcox and Bowie schools are considering online options now that schools have been ordered to remain closed longer.

On Friday, Gov. Doug Ducey announced that Arizona schools should remain closed at least through April 10 as part of the ongoing effort to keep the number of COVID-19 patients down.

The Willcox School District has been distributing homework to students by bus at the same time lunches and breakfast have been dispensed. Online homework has been dispensed as well for students who have access to the internet.

Willcox Superintendent Kevin Davis said the next step of online education is currently being contemplated and a meeting with the administrative team and leadership team will help discern what online platform to use on Monday morning.

“Parents are going to have to take a major role in this, regardless if it’s elementary or high school, they’re going to need to be responsible for their students’ learning,” Davis said. “We can provide it, but we can’t provide the follow-up and follow-through and assistance at home.”

His staff will help as much as they can through phone and email, but making sure the students remain engaged will be difficult, he said.

“We’re going to have to be partners in this. We’ll do everything on our end to possibly provide help and materials,” said Davis.

According to Davis, elementary students may be doing more worksheets with assistance from Willcox teachers over the phone.

The Willcox School District is also working closely with the local internet provider Valley Telecom on different options for potentially providing internet through the school closure. One such option are wifi hot spots – public areas with an accessible wireless network.

Bowie Superintendent Wendy Conger said they’ve been handing out homework packets with meals. Conger expressed gratitude to Valley Telecom for setting up a free Internet hotspot for Bowie residents since Internet is not available in the area.

“Kids have week-long packets, we have to make the packets. For the people who can’t pick them up we will be delivering them,” said Conger.

Conger said her students will be given access to a room with computers, but with an intense cleanliness procedure and rigid scheduling so the room does not become crowded.

“I have to balance it. We’re going to have to spread out our hours so there’s no more than two to three students at a time and those students have to be spread at least 6 to 8 feet apart,” said Conger. “And of course if anyone needs food they can pick up the food or we can bring it to them.”

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