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Sunnyside district weighs new CDC guidelines for schools

Posted at 10:17 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 01:17:50-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — School districts across the country are working on how students will continue their education in the fall based on CDC guidance.

Sunnyside Unified School District is deciding if they'll bring students back into classrooms, keep them home, or a mix of the two.

"How we land, however, in the beginning of the school year there are still two good months to really get more clear guidelines and see how things progress," Sunnyside Superintendent Steve Holmes said.

He said Sunnyside and school districts across the country are sharing ideas on how to best adjust to the new CDC guidelines.

Holmes says superintendents across the country are sharing ideas on how to adjust to the CDC guidelines.

He said they are focused on five major areas.

"Identification of illness -- how you're going to proceed if someone gets sick. How are you going to clean your buildings," Holmes said. "Transportation. How we're going to serve food, and what's the education model we're going to put in place."

Holmes and the Governing Board are considering four options:

  • A return to the traditional setting
  • Staggering school days
  • Remote learning
  • A hybrid of these education models

The district is also tackling the issue of the costs that come with the recommendations.

  • The CDC suggests social distancing and limited interaction between students should be maintained in classrooms and on buses.

"You have one student in every other seat in a bus," Holmes said. "I have certain routes that have 50 students on the bus. That would take 5 trips. That's more drivers. More buses.

The state superintendent is addressing the added expenses. Kathy Hoffman announced she's now seeking federal funds to help cover the costs.

Costs that could continue, Holmes says, beyond the next school year.

"This is going to change the way we're looking at school moving forward at least for two years, at least that's what I anticipate," Holmes said.

Holmes said he's coming up with options on how students will return to school and will send out surveys to parents in a few weeks to get their reactions.