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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
2:18 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Schools attempt to maintain normalcy

PRESCOTT – Tri-city schools were open, calm and ready to offer students counseling as educators quickly coped with Tuesday's news of unprecedented terrorism in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Before school began Tuesday, Prescott High School Principal Tim Carter ordered a campus search for any unusual items, and that search turned up clean.

"We have additional security staff and are proceeding with business as normally as we can," he said. "We had a moment of silence (Tuesday) morning in tribute to those involved in the tragedy, and advisers are available to talk with students who need to talk or are in some kind of crisis."

Prescott High School continued with all its extracurricular plans Tuesday, including sports activities. Carter said he hadn't heard of any Arizona school closing because of the World Trade Center and Pentagon tragedies.

Chino Valley High School Principal David Perey said teachers talked about the tragedy in each classroom.

The school's flag is at half staff, Perey said, "and we've postponed all sports activities out of respect for those who lost their lives in this tragedy. This has shocked all of us; it's almost overwhelming, and we need students to recognize how this affects all of us."

Marcia Gatti-Smith, principal of Coyote Springs Elementary School in Prescott Valley, said staff and faculty will "handle each grade level one by one and determine what knowledge each student has (about the attacks) and work with them at that level to lower their concern."

Other than touring classrooms to "take the pulse" of students, Gatti-Smith plans to do business as usual without creating more concern than necessary. For example, today the school planned to go ahead with its regular monthly lockdown procedure and fire drill.

"We want them to know it's a safe environment here," she said.

Humboldt Unified School District Superintendent Cynthia Verdugo Wood said Tuesday that all sites were open and maintaining usual schedules.

"We're going to be doing business as usual with athletics unless we have an opponent cancel," she said. "We're trying to guarantee normalcy as we assess the needs of any of our students that may (prompt) intervention."

Wood said she contacted the offices of Gov. Jane Hull and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jaime Molera.

"Both offices let us know that they don't believe there's any threat to Arizonans and there's no threat to Arizona schools, but it's a local decision as to whether schools stay open," she said.

"I have been in touch with our school board, and we're in agreement to maintain a regular schedule for all students."

Prescott Unified School District Superintendent Kevin J. Kapp said maintaining normalcy is "the best approach to the situation in that children should be in school and participating in the benefits of living in this wonderful country."

Contact Louise Koniarski at lkoniarski@prescottaz.com