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Chino Valley Unified School District wanted 1 week extension of spring break

The Chino Valley Unified School District board is seen in this file image. The board had hoped to extend spring break by one week, but Gov. Doug Ducey upended those plans. (Courier, file)

The Chino Valley Unified School District board is seen in this file image. The board had hoped to extend spring break by one week, but Gov. Doug Ducey upended those plans. (Courier, file)

The Chino Valley Unified School District board wanted to extend its spring break by one week to evaluate the unfolding situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19). Hours later Gov. Doug Ducey upended those plans.

The governor issued a decision Sunday afternoon, March 15, closing all public schools statewide for two weeks.

Chino Valley’s decision came Sunday morning after a special governing board meeting where administrators, members of the public and district employees made their voices heard, Assistant Superintendent Cindy Daniels said.

“The general consensus was that Yavapai College has taken this week off so they can kind of make plans for moving forward, and this governing board felt like a week was a good amount of time to decide how serious this would be,” she said midday Sunday.

The idea was administrators would receive information from the state about continuing to pay employees, as well as information from the state regarding whether days would have to be made up, she said.

“We need to wait now to hear from the governor and legislature about what that’s going to mean for us,” said Daniels, who got her answer Sunday afternoon.

Chino Valley’s school board felt like within one week there would be a better idea of what’s going on, whether there are cases arising in Yavapai County and how serious and widespread it may be, Daniels said.

No cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Yavapai County, health officials stated as of March 13.

Daniels said the closure is also a hardship for people in the community, and the district officials want to be faithful to parents, students and staff with their decision making.

Humboldt and Prescott Unified school districts announced on Saturday their closure through March 27, which the Courier reported Sunday.

“Part of my decision was based on, if there is a mass infection in Yavapai County, we do not have the medical facilities to handle it. Nobody in the state would,” said Chino Valley Board Member Robert Bowen, who on Sunday morning thought it was premature to close for a longer period of time because not all of the information is available.

Bowen added there are students and families coming off of international trips and it is unknown if they were exposed. “We have a population of special-needs (students) that are highly susceptible and … 18% of our (students) are being raised by their grandparents.”

Regardless, the following measures are being taken, according to a letter to the community available on www.chinovalleyschools.com.

• All after-school clubs are canceled until further notice.

• All school-related events including athletics, including practices and games are canceled until further notice.

• Preschool and daycare programs are canceled until further notice.

• CTED classes will continue in an online format until further notice.

• Free breakfast and free lunch will be available as a drive-thru, grab-and-go at Territorial Early Childhood Center for children in the community 18 and younger. The free meals will be offered between 7 and 8:30 a.m. and between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Territorial Early Childhood Center is located at 1088 E. Mahan Lane.

Whether or not this closure will affect the school year is a decision that is out of the district’s hands and one that will be made by the state Department of Education and the state legislators, Daniels said.

For more information, visit www.chinovalleyschools.com .

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