Tue, Sept. 22

Cottonwood-Oak Creek, Clarkdale-Jerome schools won’t offer in-class instruction before Sept. 14

Valley Academy to open in-school CTE classes Monday

VERDE VALLEY — Tuesday, Valley Academy for Career & Technology Education’s district governing board voted 4-0 to open VACTE for in-person classes beginning Monday, Aug. 17.

“Teachers are excited to instruct the students in hands-on skill attainment and be able to complete the standards so they can earn state and national industry certification,” Valley Academy Superintendent Bob Weir said Wednesday in a news release.

Students studying phlebotomy, pre-engineering and culinary arts will start on Aug. 17 following Yavapai College’s re-opening plan with online lectures and in-person labs.

Valley Academy’s students in construction, fire science, CNA, law enforcement and teacher training will start in-person instruction Monday through Thursday during their scheduled class time starting Aug. 17.

For more information, visit or call 928-634-7131.

-- Bill Helm

VERDE VALLEY — Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Clarkdale-Jerome school boards decided Tuesday that in-class instruction will not begin before Sept. 14.

Neither Sedona-Oak Creek nor Beaver Creek has put a date on their plans to reopen.

However, each of the four districts’ governing boards said this week they will follow Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order that requires schools to provide on-site learning opportunities beginning Aug. 17.

“We are close, but the positivity rate is not where we want it to be yet,” Clarkdale-Jerome Superintendent Danny Brown said Wednesday.

According to Brown, no more than 5% of persons tested for COVID-19 should be positive in order for schools to return to in-person learning. Yavapai County is at 7.8%.

“We understand the hardship this might have on our families, but we also want to make sure the conditions are safe for us to return,” Brown said.

In a Clarkdale-Jerome news release, Board President Jill Zaske stated that she appreciated public sentiment shared during the board’s Aug. 11 meeting.

“Although this was a very difficult decision for the board, we hope our families understand that we want our kids back in school, but under safe conditions.”

For more information on Clarkdale-Jerome’s Return to Learn family communication and mitigation plan, visit

Metrics = guidance

Cottonwood-Oak Creek has five priority criteria for its on-site learning opportunities, Superintendent Steve King said.

Those priority students are based on special needs, homeless, no internet access, English language learners and students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Any student participating in Cottonwood-Oak Creek’s on-site learning would go to Cottonwood Community School, King said.

“Breakfast and lunch would be available, also dinner for anyone who wants it,” King said.

Whether Cottonwood-Oak Creek schools open on Sept. 14, King said the district’s governing board will consider that option at its Sept. 1 meeting.

However, the district governing board also has the option to hold an additional meeting between Sept. 1 and Sept. 14, King also said.

For more information on Cottonwood-Oak Creek’s reopening plan, visit

Regular updates to families

Beaver Creek Superintendent Karin Ward said Wednesday that her district’s governing board will likely hold a special meeting the week of Aug. 17. The purpose of the meeting, Ward said, will be to decide whether the most up-to-date metrics can guide them toward a date to reopen school.

Ward explained that until then, the district is prepared to offer on-site learning opportunities for special needs, ELL, students struggling with their academics, and students whose parents need to go to work.

Paraprofessionals will be available for on-site learning at Beaver Creek, Ward said.

“Unless the child has high special needs,” Ward said. “Then they’d work with a special education teacher.”

For more information on Beaver Creek’s reopening plan, visit

Tuesday, Sedona-Oak Creek agreed to use Yavapai County Community Health Department recommendations and COVID-19 benchmarks to determine when the district’s schools can safely reopen.

“We will be monitoring this information carefully and providing regular updates to our families,” Superintendent Dennis Dearden said Wednesday in a news release. “It is our desire to resume in-person instruction as soon as possible, in the safest way possible.”

For more information on Sedona-Oak Creek’s reopening plan, visit

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