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Mon, June 14

Clarkdale-Jerome, Cottonwood-Oak Creek to return to online learning
Four Verde Valley school districts close doors at least through winter break

Both the Clarkdale-Jereome and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school districts have opted for a return to exclusive online education as a result of escalating COVID-19 cases locally. VVN file photos

Both the Clarkdale-Jereome and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school districts have opted for a return to exclusive online education as a result of escalating COVID-19 cases locally. VVN file photos

Tuesday, the Clarkdale-Jerome and Cottonwood-Oak Creek school boards voted to return to its distance learning model from Friday, Dec. 18 through Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

Including Mingus Union and Camp Verde Unified, that now makes four Verde Valley school districts that have returned or have committed to return to online learning at least through the winter break. The Mingus Union School Board voted 4-to-1 on Dec. 3 to keep its campus closed in favor of distance learning through Jan. 8.

Camp Verde Superintendent Danny Howe announced on Dec. 3 that his district would close classrooms until Jan. 4. In the Prescott area, Chino Valley, Humboldt and Prescott school districts each decided on Dec. 1 to cancel all in-person instruction through winter break.

The Clarkdale-Jerome School Board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5 to decide whether to continue with distance learning or move into a hybrid or back to in-person learning after Jan. 8.

“We’re meeting the first week back from winter break so the board can look at the metrics at the time so they can make a more informed decision,” Clarkdale-Jerome Superintendent Danny Brown said.

Brown explained that the most recent state and county metrics helped guide the board’s vote to close its campus and return to online learning.

“There was also a lot of discussion to see whether we could keep kids in school as much as possible,” Brown said. “I’ve consulted with (Yavapai County Community Health Services Director) Leslie Horton. She supports our decision.”

Options

Tuesday, Cottonwood-Oak Creek Superintendent Steve King gave his board options that included shorter days on campus, four days on campus with the fifth day online, and hybrid options where students are on campus only certain days, online the other days.

Friday, Dec. 18 will be a remote learning day for all Cottonwood-Oak Creek students “so teachers have time to plan for remote instruction for the week of Jan. 4-8, 2021,” King stated Wednesday afternoon in a news release.

Anyone who needs a Chromebook or a Wi-Fi hotspot should contact their school’s principal, King stated. According to the news release, the district’s Jan. 4-8 remote instruction may include a combination of paper and online materials, depending on the grade level.

Cottonwood-Oak Creek’s Bright Bears and Casper Preschools will remain open with normal hours of operation on Dec. 18 and from Jan. 4-8, according to the news release.

“Onsite supports will be available for our kindergarten through eighth grade students,” King stated. “We will be providing more information in the next week.”

Cottonwood-Oak Creek will also meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5 to discuss and adopt one of five instructional models (alternative schedules) to be implemented for at least the third quarter, King stated in the news release. Those instructional models include:

• Five-day shortened day;

• Four-day in-person with day-five a remote day;

• A/B student last names A-L (Monday and Tuesday in person) M-Z (Thursday and Friday in person) with three days remote;

• Classrooms restructured: full-time remote learning teachers;

• Return to virtual learning based on guidance from ADE & ADHS metrics

Onsite learning opportunities

Wednesday, Brown said that Clarkdale-Jerome will check out Chromebooks to all students before Dec. 18. The district said it will work with those families who are in need of internet access. At this time, 76 of Clarkdale-Jerome students are already enrolled in the online learning program, Brown said. Those students will continue with their studies as they have been doing.

Before Dec. 18, teachers will explain online learning specifics to students and their families. According to Brown, learning packets will be available for some of the district’s younger students. Contact Brown at 928-634-5035 for more information.

Clarkdale-Jerome will offer onsite learning opportunities (OLO) at school for any student who needs a place to work. Those students, Brown said, will likely be in the school’s gymnasium, Brown said. Bus transportation will not be available during distance learning.

When Clarkdale-Jerome implemented its distance learning model from Aug. 10 through Sept. 11, the district averaged about 50 students per day in the gymnasium utilizing onsite learning opportunities, Brown said. With proper social distancing, the gym can hold about 80 students.

Clarkdale-Jerome will offer onsite learning opportunities from 8:20 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday on school days. Students can be picked up at noon each day (as most instructional activities will be taught by then) or at 2:30 p.m., if they need more time, Brown said. Students will receive free breakfast and lunch while on campus.

Free curbside breakfast and lunch pickup will also be available for Clarkdale-Jerome students/families from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. each school day in front of the school. Administration will continue to provide weekly parent updates through its robo email system. Brown said the district will also post updates each week – generally on Wednesday or Thursday – at cjsd.k12.az.us.

A copy of Clarkdale-Jerome’s Jan. 5 special meeting agenda will be posted at the district’s website within 24 hours of the meeting.

A copy of Cottonwood-Oak Creek’s Jan. 5 meeting agenda will be posted at cocsd.us within 24 hours of the meeting.

Monday, Sedona-Red Rock voted to continue with its hybrid model where students have the option of in-person or virtual learning.

As of Wednesday, Beaver Creek School Board has not decided whether to return to online learning. According to District Superintendent Karin Ward, Beaver Creek will release a statement either Thursday or Friday, along with the board’s Dec. 14 agenda.

The Beaver Creek School Board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Monday.

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