Back to school in the time of COVID

By Becky Maxedon

The excitement and anticipation of going back to school has taken on an entirely new meaning in 2020. Just like everything else this year, COVID-19 has produced a lot of handwringing and thinking outside the box.

Educators in Lake Havasu City have spent the time of lock-down and general isolation working to put together a plan that ensures students can return to in-person as well as distance learning to accommodate Center for Disease Control and state guidelines.

Students return to Havasupai Elementary School for in-person learning Tuesday morning. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

And students were able to return today after Lake Havasu City area schools dipped their collective toes back into in-person learning. Albeit most schools are working on a hybrid model and making sure that everyone is safe.

Lake Havasu Unified School District elementary school students returned to in-person learning today. Secondary schools return Oct. 12. Distance learning is still an option.

Charley Lockhart colors a paper on her first day of kindergarten at Havasupai Elementary School. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Telesis Preparatory Academy students in grades PK-5 grade returned to onsite in-person learning Aug. 31.

Havasu Preparatory Academy remains in distance learning until Oct. 12.

Calvary Christian Academy returned to in-person school August 17.

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Elementary school students will be learning in cohorts – groups that they will stay with throughout the day. Secondary students return to a hybrid model and will be in cohorts whenever possible Oct. 12.

The AM Cohort will be from 8 to 10:45 a.m., and the PM Cohort is from 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. In-person learning will take place Monday, Tuesday and Thursday Friday with Wednesday used for staff planning and professional development.

All CDC and state COVID-19 guidelines are being followed.

According to the LHUSD website, students must not come to school if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, or chills;
    • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
    • cough
    • fatigue
    • headache
    • muscle or body aches
    • sore throat
    • congestions/runny nose
    • nausea/vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • new loss of taste or smell

Staff members will educate and remind students regularly about physical distancing, to the extent possible both inside and outside of the classroom.

Havasupai Elementary Students give a thumbs up to being back to school on the first day of in-person learning. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

And elementary students will still have recess. Playgrounds physical activity continues to be a vital part of a student’s school day. Teachers will require students to wash their hands before and after recess. No more than two grade levels at a time will be scheduled for recess. Classes will rotate through playground structures and field areas to allow for as much physical distancing as possible. If playground equipment is used, cleaning will be aligned to CDC recommendations.

Lee Nigg teaches his class at Havasupai Elementary School Tuesday morning. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Schools when possible will use a number of spaces for eating during lunch including the cafeteria, outside and in other designated locations, proper physical distancing is more important than ever. Students will be prohibited from sharing lunch items with each other and, unless there is prior administrative permission, outside food cannot be delivered to the school.

For more information, visit each school’s website.

Lake Havasu Unified School District: www.havasu.k12.az.us

Telesis Preparatory Academy: www.telesis-academy.org

Havasu Preparatory Academy: www.havasuprepele.com

Calvary Christian Academy: http://www.ccahavasu.com/

Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Back to school photo courtesy Tristen LaRue.


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