Cottonwood-Oak Creek to open schools for in-person classes Sept. 14
COTTONWOOD — Tuesday, the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board voted 5-to-0 to open the district’s schools to in-person learning beginning Monday, Sept. 14.
According to an Aug. 31 letter to the county’s school superintendents, Yavapai County Community Health Services Director Leslie Horton said she hopes that schools consider reopening with a hybrid learning model based on county metrics from the week of Aug. 24-31.
In the letter, Horton cited three county metrics that support schools reopening:
-59 current COVID-19 cases, which means a rate of 25 cases per 100,000 population (must be less than 100/100,000);
-3.4% positivity rate (must be less than 7%);
-Approximately 2% hospitalization (must be less than 10%).
Should a COVID-19 case be connected to a school once classroom education has been reestablished, Yavapai County Community Health Services will work with its epidemiologist to establish a plan, Horton said.
“YCCHS may in some circumstances recommend a classroom or school closure to minimize spread among students and staff, depending on severity of the case and how many individuals may have come into contact with the virus,” Horton stated.
Cottonwood-Oak Creek will open to hybrid learning, with students allowed to choose whether they prefer to be on campus or online, Superintendent Steve King said Wednesday.
Although each of the Cottonwood-Oak Creek schools are working on site plans for their reopening, King said that the district’s Phase II reopening plan and safety measures allow him to feel good about the board’s decision to open in less than two weeks.
According to the district’s safety measures, families are required to do health screenings at home before they send their children to school.
Families are asked to not send their children to school if they have a temperature of at least 100.4, or if they are coughing, sneezing, have a runny nose, shortness of breath, are vomiting or have other visible signs of illness.
Once children arrive at school, school staff will assess their health. Students who show any of the above-mentioned symptoms will be taken to the health office, where the health aide will consult with the family. If additional symptoms or exposure are confirmed, the family will be asked to pick up their child.
Cottonwood-Oak Creek School Board President Eric Marcus said Wednesday that one reason he voted to open the district’s schools is because the pandemic, and online education, have been difficult for families.
“Although safety is of paramount importance, online is clearly not the best way to teach,” Marcus said. “All along I’ve been saying that nothing would make me happier than to open our doors.”
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