FUSD approves COVID mitigation plan for 2022-23 school year | Education

Flagstaff Unified School District’s (FUSD) governing board during a Tuesday meeting approved a COVID-19 mitigation plan for the 2022-23 school year, which is set to start in August.

According to FUSD Superintendent Michael Penca, the mitigation plan follows the latest health guidance and will be updated throughout the coming school year.

“COVID and mitigation plans weren’t in our terminology before the last couple of school years,” he said. “This is in line with the most up-to-date guidance from CDC and health officials, and provides guidance and recommendations for us to follow as we move forward with COVID still in our lives.”

Despite a fall in COVID-19, Coconino County remained at a high community level the week ended…

Arizona legislation was passed in April (HB 2616) that prevents schools from requiring either masks or COVID vaccinations. FUSD will be “strongly encourage” masks when the community is at a high level for COVID — as Coconino County currently is.

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The district will “really rely on individuals to monitor their own health and follow the guidance,” Penca said.

The Navajo Nation still has public health orders in place that require masks in school buildings and Leupp Elementary will have a mask requirement on its campus until it is respinded.

FUSD will continue using mitigation strategies, such as spacing classroom furniture, limiting shared materials, encouraging technology for group work and placing physical guides throughout school locations. The district’s cleaning protocols are outlined in the plan, and they include baseline and high-touch area cleaning (on a daily and weekly basis, respectively), as well as the use of a Hydroxyl Generator when someone becomes sick or receives a positive COVID test .

The district plans to continue offering masks and vaccinations, including boosters, at school sites and recommends students and staff to stay home when feeling ill or having contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID. Students who exhibit symptoms on school buses will be returned to their family or socially distanced and brought to the health office, depending on the circumstance. More specific guidelines for both staff and families can be found in the mitigation plan.

According to the plan, “the decision to quarantine a class, close a portion of the school or close the school/district entirely is made in close coordination with the local health department.” No specific closure criteria is listed.

Visitors to the district are being asked to monitor themselves and not come to the school buildings when feeling sick. Temperature screenings will still be available on arrival and visitors will be required to use the sign-in sheet and visitor badge when inside.

The plan will continue to be updated throughout the school year as guidance changes. As a requirement for ESSER funding, the district also needs to have an updated plan for a safe return to in-person instruction — which Penca said would be available on the school’s site by the beginning of the academic year.

More information about FUSD’s COVID response can be found at fusd1.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=17598. The mitigation plan approved at Tuesday’s meeting is available here.

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