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 email@example.com.