Dear Parents and Guardians:
I wanted to take a moment to update you concerning COVID-19 and its effect on our schools regarding current conditions for our students and staff. Please know that the health and safety of your child(ren) and our staff is our top priority. There has been much information in the news regarding schools and COVID-19 concerning mandates, vaccines, masks, funding, closures, personal rights, guidelines, and the general struggle of what students and staff safety should look like and who should have that say and what that means.
I am the first person to say that the in-person instructional model is the best for all kids and that being in school is essential for their social, emotional, and academic development. There is no argument surrounding this notion, as I think we can all agree on this piece. The MVESD staff has stepped up and ensured a fantastic start to the school year for your family. We have tried to make this school start as normal as possible, but in saying that, it just isn’t. Our COVID-19 protocols have proven to be strong, and we are mitigating breakouts at all of our schools with immediate on-site testing, isolating positive cases, communication to those potentially exposed, enhanced cleaning procedures, hand sanitizer stations, and reporting to the County Health Department. We also have PPEs readily available and provide them at no cost to our students and staff. Our every intention is to stay open and provide in-person learning for the students of the community of Mohave Valley. The difference we see at the start of this year is that we have no mask requirement.
In saying that, we have had and continue to have multiple cases of COVID-19 throughout our schools. There is a much more significant uptick in positive cases in a much shorter time period compared to the end of last year. Our staff has been able to pivot and fill positions within our schools for staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. Please know that there is a minimum of ten days out of school for staff and students who test positive and sometimes longer if symptoms continue per CDC guidelines, regardless of vaccination. We have exhausted our substitute teacher and paraprofessional pool as they are all in classrooms. We face the challenge and reality of not having enough staffing if this trend continues. We are approaching critical mass when not being able to cover classes on an everyday basis. It is not our wish to quarantine nor cancel classes, and it has nothing to do with whether or not we ‘want’ schools to remain open; it is just the fact we may not have the staffing to safely provide for students in classrooms, depending upon substitute availability and lack of internal capacity to cover the absences safely and responsibly.
To keep kids in school and get our staff and students healthy, we need your help. Please support our efforts by being proactive in limiting the spread of the Coronavirus within our schools through the practice of good hygiene. We are asking that if your child develops any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea), immediately call your doctor and let them know about your child’s potential exposure and symptoms so that they can tell you what to do next. Thoughtfully consider the option of your child wearing a mask to help support the health of the school. The two most effective mitigation strategies as identified by the CDC are wearing masks and being vaccinated. Most of our kids cannot be vaccinated due to the minimum age requirement of twelve.
Our goal is to continue to provide the in-person learning model of instruction throughout MVESD, but we need your help and support. We continue to monitor each school closely every day and will communicate and isolate where we can to protect the health and well-being of each student and staff member.
MVESD offers an online option for families who feel uneasy about having their child(ren) attend in person. Please inquire within your child’s school or call the District office to ask for more information concerning this option.
Thank you for being part of the MVESD family. If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us at 928-768-2507.