KUSD CHARTS RETURN TO SCHOOL COURSE
Superintendent Gretchen Dorner said there is community and staff consensus and commitment to returning to a traditional in-class instruction model as soon as possible within the Kingman Unified School District (KUSD). Yet, she said local coronavirus numbers have not yet declined to the point where her administration is advocating starting the school year that way Monday.
The KUSD governing board, after extensive discussion and some debate during it’s two-hour Tuesday meeting, approved implementation of a three-phase plan for starting the school year. A computer driven virtual teaching model will be used when classes resume Monday, but parents who need or wish to do so, still have the option of sending students to district schools and buildings for safe and supervised learning environments.
The second phase of the transition would occur on September 8, right after Labor Day. That’s when the district would move into teacher-led, in-class instruction, while rotating students through education shifts to reduce class size in line with social distancing recommendations.
Traditional in-class school would resume on October 19, with more than 900 parents already deciding to keep their kids in the online learning academy. ``In all three of the stages of my recommendation, there’s an opportunity for kids to be on campus and in contact with teachers and site staff,” Dorner said.
Jen Shumway and Beth Weisser dissented in the 3-2 board vote approving the three-phase approach. They both support starting with a virtual model and moving toward traditional instruction, but they did not want to commit to dates of transition as suggested by staff.
Shumway said decisions should be made on the basis of data rather than dates and she preferred that the KUSD continue reviewing data before picking calendar transitions. Dorner said she understands Shumway’s position, but explained that many staff members and parents want specific dates to guide their planning and ease their anxiety and inconvenience.
President Charlie Lucero urged board members to think about hiring a specialist, perhaps someone with a professional health background, to help guide the district through the rest of the pandemic.
Dorner noted that government regulation, not local policy, will dictate mandatory use of appropriate face coverings for anyone on district property. There are medical exemptions and exceptions for staff working in environments where proper social distancing can be achieved.
Dorner said anyone wanting to know more about how the new school year is being handled should visit the website (kusg.org) or call the district office (28-753-5678).