Elementary districts stick with virtual learning
VERDE VALLEY — Tuesday, the Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Clarkdale-Jerome school boards each voted unanimously to continue with virtual learning at least through Jan. 15.
With Martin Luther King Jr. Day observed this year on Monday, Jan. 18, students from both districts will have the option to return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Both boards will meet again – separately – on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Cottonwood-Oak Creek Superintendent Steve King and Clarkdale-Jerome Superintendent Danny Brown confirmed Wednesday that their respective boards will consider whether the most up-to-date COVID-19 metrics, staffing, vaccine availability and recommendations from Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman guide them to reopen their district’s campuses on Jan. 19.
Cottonwood-Oak Creek Board President Eric Marcus explained Tuesday that when the district’s campuses reopen, in-person learning would be available Monday through Thursday, with Friday a virtual learning day for all students.
According to the district’s four-day-plus-one overview, teachers will provide full-day instruction for in-person students Monday through Thursday. Teachers will also monitor virtual students while they utilize district personnel for additional assistance when needed.
Fridays, the district’s teachers will be on site to meet the needs of virtual and fifth-day remote students. Teachers not asked to provide support to virtual or fifth-day remote students will provide on-site support to identified students and be provided with weekly planning time.
Even when campuses reopen, any student will be able to opt for virtual learning, King said.
“We are in the most extraordinary of times,” King told the board. “It’s been a lot of deliberation, a lot of research. There are no right answers, no perfect answers. It’s all an imperfect process.”
Cottonwood-Oak Creek’s four-day-plus-one overview can be found at cocsd.us. The Jan. 12 agenda will also be posted to the website no later than 24 hours before the meeting.
At the Jan. 12 Clarkdale-Jerome meeting, the district’s governing board will also consider which education model(s) to offer – should the board stick with its decision to reopen on Jan. 19, Brown said.
“We’re mulling over a hybrid model,” Brown said. “We discussed it on Tuesday, but we haven’t decided.”
Should the Clarkdale-Jerome School Board vote to go hybrid, that model would be akin to the A/B model Cottonwood-Oak Creek also considered with students at school for two days, at home the other three days.
For example, half of the Clarkdale-Jerome students would be on campus Monday and Wednesday, with the other half on campus Tuesday and Thursday. Friday, all Clarkdale-Jerome students would be at home.
Clarkdale-Jerome’s Jan. 12 agenda will be posted to the district’s website, cjsd.k12.az.us, no later than 24 hours before the meeting.
On Jan. 4, Camp Verde Unified returned to face-to-face learning, with any student who prefers online education to be off campus.
Beaver Creek and Sedona-Red Rock school districts are open for both online and in-person learning.
Central campus programs at Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education – VACTE – have been open since Aug. 17 to in-person learning, Superintendent Bob Weir said Wednesday.
Satellite programs and programs concurrent with Yavapai College have paralleled with their respective Verde Valley school districts, Weir explained.
Weir also said that enrollment for VACTE central campus programs has varied from even to a year to ago to as much as 15 students more than a year ago.
“It’s good for the situation we’re in,” Weir said. “We’re different. We can do more in person. Our kids don’t intermingle as much as they do at the other schools. Ours are already cohorted.”
At 5 p.m. Thursday, the Mingus Union School Board will consider a continuation of distance learning or a transition and return to in-person learning or hybrid learning models.
The Mingus Union School Board will meet via Zoom. The board’s agenda, which includes the Zoom sign-in, is at mingusunion.com.
According to the board’s Jan. 7 agenda, considerations will include Arizona Department of Health Services health benchmarks, current Yavapai County Community Health Services COVID-19 data, school staffing issues, and current Mingus Union statistics related to positive cases and quarantines.