Flagstaff Unified School District Continues COVID Strategies | Education


Students get off their regular school buses at a new location on the first day of school for Killip Elementary students in the old Flagstaff Middle School building.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun File


Nearly two months and Flagstaff Unified School District superintendent Michael Penca said he was feeling “very well for the start of the school year and things were going fast.”

The district has adjusted its approach to COVID-19, but its overall focus is student learning, he said.

The FUSD renewed its mask requirement last week after an Arizona judge ruled the law banning such warrants was unconstitutional. Penca said he had not received much feedback from parents and staff since the meeting in which the FUSD board made the decision.

“People expected this to be where we were heading,” he said.

He added that there was some anxiety as the September 29 deadline approached, but mostly he heard from families and staff that they wanted to maintain the requirement. The county’s high transmission rate and students under the age of 12 still ineligible for vaccination were the main reasons for wanting this to continue.

The requirement was renewed with the condition that the board would have to reconsider if the law changed. Penca said he didn’t expect things to change, but the motion was made this way to say “we understand the state is appealing [and]… that the district intends to follow the laws required of our state. “

“We have to … stay tuned, be ready to pivot if necessary,” Penca said. “… We would much prefer to be able to maintain a mask requirement until we see the numbers drastically reduced or until our youngest students have a chance to get vaccinated.”

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