The Litchfield Elementary School District Governing Board voted 4-0 to Tuesday, Sept. 8 to approve Superintendent Jodi Gunning’s recommendation to begin transitioning students to a hybrid learning model on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
President Danielle Clymer and board members Kimberly Moran, Dr. Tawnya Pfitzer and Melissa Zuidema voted in favor. Board member Alayne Weathersby was absent.
“We feel that it is very important to get our children back into the classroom as soon as possible,” Ms. Gunning told the board. “I do feel comfortable and confident in recommending the hybrid model.”
Students in kindergarten through second grade will transition Sept. 16, followed by third through fifth grades on Monday, Sept. 21 and sixth through eighth grades Monday, Sept. 28. If public health benchmarks move from the current moderate community transmission to minimal transmission before those dates, students could bypass hybrid and move straight to full in-person learning.
Families of students who opted for digital learning will remain in the distance learning model all year.
Under the hybrid model, each teacher will be assigned 32 students divided into two groups. Group A will be in class with their teacher Mondays and Wednesdays while Group B works online. Group B will be in class Tuesdays and Thursdays while Group A works online. All 32 students will work online with their teachers on Fridays.
Ms. Gunning said her office will continue monitoring benchmark data and will work with Maricopa County Public Health officials for guidance how to proceed if students, faculty or staff at one of the district’s 11 elementary and five middle schools in Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear or Litchfield Park test positive for COVID-19, which could include quarantining a classroom or an entire school.
“It is definitely a year of flexibility,” she said.
The Governing Board also voted 4-0 to spend up to $700,000 for nightly electrostatic disinfecting at all LESD locations, up to $235,000 to hire temporary janitors to augment existing janitorial staff and spend up to $150,000 for network equipment to boost the district’s internet capabilities.
Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or 760-963-1697. For up-to-date local reporting on all things COVID-19, Independent Newsmedia has created a webpage dedicated to coverage of the novel coronavirus: #AZNEWSMEDIA