Connecting with students

Lake Havasu High School math teacher Larry Olsen shows how he connects with his students while distance learning, using Google Classroom, daily videos, notes and Friday Zoom classes. Connecting with his students , checking in on them and learning about them as individuals is what makes him a good teacher — something he can’t do with online learning, he said.

Lake Havasu City families still have no idea when students might be able to return to campus.

Lake Havasu Unified School District board members held a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss updates to the school’s Roadmap to Reopening, but board members couldn’t settle on a date when a return might be possible.

After nearly four hours of discussion, the decision for reopening was pushed to next week’s regular board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 18, from 6 to 9 p.m. Board members hope to have a representative from the Mohave County Department of Public Health present to answer any questions or concerns, especially related to the state’s benchmarks for reopening.

As of Tuesday evening, the county only meets two of the three benchmarks provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services. The last remaining hurdle is the PCR percent positivity rate. It needs to be below 10 percent for two weeks in a row in order to meet the final benchmark, but as of Tuesday evening, it sits at 12.1 percent for the county.

Board member Nichole Cohen pointed out that the death rate is not part of the metrics considered for reopening, and called the benchmarks “arbitrary.”

Fellow board member Kathy Cox disagreed, suggesting that keeping an eye on the benchmarks and Mohave County’s status could help encourage the community to wear face masks, avoid non essential travel, stop hosting parties and other ways to lower community spread so students can return to classrooms safely and soon.

“It’s easy for people who don’t work or who are retired from work to say, ‘If everybody would just do their part, we could get rid of this,’ and there’s no evidence to suggest that,” Cohen said. “At some point, we are going to have to come up with an acceptable casualty rate, and nobody wants to have that conversation.”

Reopening schools isn’t as simple as it may sound, she added. President Lisa Roman agreed, pointing out that there are too many unknowns. Teachers would also need time to prepare for the switch to in-person learning while figuring out a way to accommodate students who will continue education online.

Dozens of parents, students and staff members sent emails to the board to voice their opinions on the matter. Many called for the return to normalcy, citing examples of confusing technology or struggling straight-A students, but still others pointed out the issues that still need answers, such as already bursting class sizes and the risk of infecting staff and students.

The district will reconvene on Tuesday to discuss a possible reopening plan further. Those with comments or questions can email them to


(22) comments


And Lemonade said this in part on Aug 14, 2020 8:04am

"I will listen to your "rants" anytime, Tom. Your posts always add thoughtful, respectful dialogue to the discussion. ...".

Recent information leads me to believe that "Far UVC", the lighting which is safe to use around people; is not going to be available quickly. We are most likely looking at sometime in 2021 and even then the ability to control the lights frequency is going to be difficult. But there are alternatives so lets look at just two.

Alternative 1. Installation of UV-C or hard UV lighting is currently used in many locations in our country. Airlines, subways, buses, hospitals and many other locations. The difficulty is not in installing or using the lighting but rather keeping it away from shining directly on people. It is frequently installed in restaurants and other high traffic areas but is pointed away from people. I am quite sure you have seen the light fixtures. They are small 2' long boxes hanging on the wall shining up at the ceiling casting a blue light upwards. Those are UV-C light fixtures but even those are in short supply today. People are buying them up like crazy. These UV-C light fixtures sanitize the air circulating in the room and UV-C lighting fixtures COULD be installed in each classroom and shine upward towards the ceiling without any harm to the students, teachers or administrative staff. Cost would be somewhere on the order of about $100.00 per classroom. It would sanitize the air in that classroom but only that classroom. However a better method might be to install UV-C lighting in the Air Conditioning air handling unit. You know the air handling units we normally see on the roofs of our schools. A cost estimate? Well about $200-300.00 for the light fixture and then maybe anywhere from a couple hundred to maybe $500 per unit depending on the units size. It would be best to get several bids from many different AC contractors. Estimating costs has never been my strong suit, ha ha. Finding solutions to difficult problems has been. Since the UV-C lighting would be installed in the air ducts it could sanitize the air in several classrooms instead of just one classroom since one AC unit might service several classrooms. It would also be safer since no one would be exposed to the UV-C light. Students have a way of being inquisitive and might just decide to investigate the pretty blue light. Not smart. And a recent MIT study which I will provide a link to shows we might just be fighting the Covid-19 virus the wrong way but then the research is still ongoing.

Alternative 2. Small desktop UV-C lighting of about 25-60 watts are available for about $40-$75.00 but they MUST NOT BE USED when the students, teachers or any other personnel are present in the room. That would mean the school cleaning staff must not be present for the one hours they would be on sanitizing a classroom. The use of this lighting would therefore be limited to the evening hours after the classroom has been cleaned and the units can be turned on. Not the best solution but a solution nonetheless.

O.K. So those are two alternatives which would HELP protect our students, teachers and administrative staffs. Each method has its pro's and con's but BOTH are better than just talking about when to reopen our schools and using some state guidelines which may or may not be completely effective. We need to begin to use technology to help us fight this virus. It is NOT going away anytime soon NOR is the seasonal flu going away. To me it is time to get serious and petition the State for funding so we can spend a few thousand dollars at each of our schools to add an extra layer of protection for our children, teachers and administrative staff. They deserve better than just more talk and masks and social distancing. And as a tourism community that depends on visitors we need to get serious about installing lighting in all of our restaurants and stores. Here are the links.

Alternative One Link [Air Conditioning lighting fixtures]

Alternative Two Link [Standalone Desktop Lighting]

MIT Study [virus transmission modes]


“At some point, we are going to have to come up with an acceptable casualty rate, and nobody wants to have that conversation.” Is Nichole Cohen talking about her own family? Is she willing to give up her children as guinea pigs? The only acceptable casualty rate is ZERO. Nichole Cohen needs to be FIRED. How dare she be so cavalier about children, teachers and staff dying?


Pretty astounding, isn't it fishanwitt!?! At the last board meeting she said she wasn't even convinced this is a pandemic. [ohmy]


Hi Lemonade: Here is the definition of a pandemic. Pretty simple and straightforward if you ask me.

/panˈdemik/ adjective (of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world.

Similar: widespread prevalent pervasive rife rampant universal global, an outbreak of a pandemic disease. the results may have been skewed by an influenza pandemic

However, some people just do not accept the fact that we are in a pandemic situation. Case in point. I was watching 3 TV out of Phoenix tonight and they were interviewing people providing free masks to people. The spokesperson responding to the reporter was wearing a mask that only covered her mouth and not her nose which is the incorrect way to wear a mask. Is it any wonder you see people walking around our local stores not wearing a mask correctly? Heck I was in Bashas about a week ago and a shopper and his wife were not wearing ANY type of mask. An elderly lady confronted them and the person became rude and belligerent to the elderly lady. The store manager had to finally step in and end the confrontation.

Or how about those that are wearing a clear face shield? It neither covers the mouth nor the nose and if you cough it can spread the virus for many feet in all directions. Basically out the sides and the bottom of the face shield.

There are just some people who refuse to follow any type of protective measure because they believe it is their right to do what they please. And yet we are living through a period of time when thousands are suffering. And when 3 TV showed the Lake Havasu City board members in session guess which one was NOT wearing a mask. Could it have been the same person who made the comment regarding an acceptable level of risk to students and teachers?

I have often felt that school board members SHOULD be paid for their services. However, they are not and in most cases if you apply for the job you will get the job since no one except the most dedicated people even want the job. Now my next statement is not going to sit well with many people. "When you don't pay a person for the services they are providing you just might not be getting the best person for the job". IN MY OPINION, if you want a group of highly trained and/or skilled educational leaders to be on your board, PAY THEM to be there otherwise take what you get. Don't get me wrong, we have some excellent board members who are dedicated and highly skilled. There weren't even any individuals other than the three [3] candidates who wanted the job so they got the job. No competition, no evaluation of their pre election comments since there were none, no debates, no voting for the most valued candidates.

It is also a thankless job trying to direct a school district run by a Superintendent. In other words, the organizational structure of our District is WRONG IN MY OPINION. It is like having 5 presidents trying to tell one member of Congress what to do. It is a flawed organizational structure but it is the ONLY structure we currently have.

Thank you for taking the time to read to my rant. I love continuous learning and have always supported our educational system and have met with many board members over the years. It is unfortunate such comments are spoken by any board member before an open audience. Did I mention there does not appear to also be any way to sanction and/or to punish such behavior other than a recall? I guess I missed that in my rant.

Have a good day and stay safe. If anyone wants to know what I would do to help protect our students and teachers all anyone has to do is just ask if you have not already read my postings on "Far UVC" and "UV-C" lighting.

Objective Dialectic

Good points Tom


I will listen to your "rants" anytime, Tom. Your posts always add thoughtful, respectful dialogue to the discussion. I too have my concerns about the incoming, largely unvetted group of Board Members. At one point there were four candidates, but one must have dropped out. It would have been nice if that fact would have been publicized so someone else could have perhaps jumped into the race. I have read your posts about Far UVC and UV-C lighting. It sounds like a very promising technology, but in a cursory search I did they seem to be hard to get ahold of on a scale the district would need. Hopefully production will be ramped up to meet the need soon, as it would appear this virus is not going away anytime in the near future!


Board members are not employees, and cannot be fired!


Board members can be recalled...


The Federal Government has not done a good job during this historic time. If you do not like the school board run for office and see how much better you can do. It is easy to criticize but tough to really get involved. You know what the wealthy are doing. Kids going to high end private schools or full time tudors.

Too old for this

I don't see how it is the responsibility of the Federal government to cure all ills. Covid-19 should be considered a priority at the State and Local levels. Those are the people who decide how much to spend on the hospitals and equipment, which businesses are "non-essential" and must close, etc. The less involvement by the Federal government, the better off we will all be. Can anyone tell me the last time that the Federal government did something right? They screw up everything they touch! They can't even handle giving away free money to the businesses affected by this pandemic without screwing it up!


Please let my join in and agree 100% "Too old for this". I find it absolutely amazing that some people still believe more government is the solution. You don't have to go any further than the below link to learn government is almost NEVER the solution. Congress who writes our laws has an approval rating of only 20% as of August 11,2020. A national entity like Congress with an approval rating of 20% to me shows just how incompetent our political leaders are. I wouldn't even take my dog to a Vet with a 20% approval rating and I certainly wouldn't want someone writing out laws to tell me how to run my life. Here is the link.


Then why do we have a HHS, CDC, FDA, NIH and 7 other divisions collecting data and doing health studies? Are you saying we don't need them?


I am really glad you posted your question "HavasuGuy". Here is my take on the subject after consulting Google and just one of the many links it provided.

As you can see our government is just full of bloated agencies all doing basically the same thing. They are administering some type of government sponsored program to help the needy. To me it would be far more cost effective if there were ONE government agency someone could call to find the answer to their question. Just ONE organization who passes out the money to recipients. Do you have any idea how much money these various program are wasting and how much more we could be helping the people who really need it?

But politicians live to grow government. It is that growth that presents a need for their very existence. More control, more laws as if we don't already have enough laws and we don't ever seem to delete any do we? Many members of Congress today just too busy feeding the 12,500 lobbyists Tax Code favors in exchange for campaign contributions so they can get re-elected. Sad state of affairs and we have the Supreme Court to thank for that mess.

And it is no different in the medical community. Just go look in detail at the agencies you have listed and see how many areas are duplicate efforts. As you said why do we even need this many and we don't. But it takes an act of Congress and no one is talking to each other in Congress these days. And can you imagine the uproar in Washington if Congress all of the sudden started consolidating agencies. Here is a link to the General Accounting Office and their efforts improve government efficiency. We shall see how their efforts go.

Have a great day and stay safe.


The school district needs to be voted out next year. I will by no means ever vote for a bond, A teachers Salary raise or any other school advancement again. This is completely absurd and ridiculous. They should be going off the rate in which kids have this virus not the community which includes the elderly. Shame on you Havasu school district.

And for Havasu guy who always comments on every damn article, Nobody Cares about your two cents. You’re just an Internet troll who always tries to bring up politics. Get a life.


Studies are increasingly showing that children over the age of 10 are just as likely to become infected as adults, and more likely to be asymptomatic carriers who may go on to infect others. Reopening the schools puts our whole community at risk.

Objective Dialectic

Yes Lemonade. Not counting the emergence of the strange inflammatory disease they are seeing in children who have contracted covid.


Three new Board members will be seated in January! They are going by the guidelines of the AZ Department of Health and the Governor


Three spots were open on the board this year, and only 3 people applied, so there will be no election for these spots. Nicole Cohen's term expires in December of this year and she did not run for re-election.


China virus still destroying America ,lives,family,businesses,schools,college sports,great job China!


Are you referring to the tRUMP virus or the corona virus that causes Covid-19?

The tRUMP virus is what has destroyed America's economy from his ignoring, downplaying and inept response to the public health needs during this pandemic.

The corona virus is what intelligent people around the world have been warning about for quite a few years. Our government was prepared for it prior to the tRUMP administration, before he dismantled the structure put in place by previous presidents.


HG, I think one of our school board members has been infected by this Trump virus! I wonder if there's a cure?


Lemonade - There is a cure, recalled or voted out.

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