WES Message Board

The Parker Unified School District is making plans to open the 2020-21 school year Aug. 3. The message board at Wallace Elementary School reflects how the staff and teachers feel about their students.

Parker Unified School District Superintendent Brad Sale said he wished he had a clearer picture of what the opening of the 2020-21 school year will be like, but, at this time, he doesn’t.

“Right now, it’s about as muddy as a wash in a heavy rain,” he said.

Sale said a rough draft of their opening plans is being prepared, and he will share it with the Pioneer when it’s done. He added he wanted to send it to Colorado River Indian Tribes’ Chairman Dennis Patch for his approval. The plans will be presented to the school board at their July 8 meeting.

“We’re trying to put it into words so that everyone can understand it,” he said.

Sale said they had two models they could use, but it depends on what the state legislature does. The first would be an “in person” model, where students attend classes at the school buildings. The other would be what he called a “hybrid” model, where students spend some time in class, but also spend time learning online or at home. This would mean the legislature would have to modify the definition of a “full-time” student for funding purposes.

“Right now, we just don’t know,” Sale said of their re-opening plans. “What it comes down to is, ‘What’s good for kids?’”

Sale said the district will not focus too much on attendance. According to their surveys, 30 percent of parents have said they would be reluctant to send their children back to school.

There are certain new regulations from the state that will have to be implemented in any re-opening plan, Sale said. He cited school busses as an example. New social-distancing guidelines would have no more than 25 to 28 students on a school bus. The district had been able to put as many as 60 on a bus.

Sale said that, whatever they plan to do, their goal is for students to be educated in a safe way,

“We’re going to do the best we can to get students back in school safely,” he said.

The new school year is set to start Aug. 3.

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