What’s New With The DVUSD Board

Kaitlyn Smitten, Staff writer

Our everyday lives have been suddenly changed due to COVID-19. The Deer Valley Unified School District board members are working hard to keep the district afloat, as well as their students and staff. 

On January 12th 2021, the DVUSD board meeting met. The DVUSD governing board consists of five members, Kimberly K. Fisher, Ann O’Brien, Ann Ordway, Jennie Paperman, and Julie Reed, which have all decided on a return date, for K-8 January 19th, and for 9-12, January 25 that they plan to stick with. 

Although the cases are rising rapidly, DVUSD is still committed to return to school. While the board has received much backlash from parents, they still plan to return to school in a timely manner, and not wait until the cases are more under control. 

With the new COVID-19 vaccine being widely available, more and more teachers are being vaccinated to help slow and stop the spread of the highly contagious virus. Although the vaccine will not stop students from getting the virus, as it is not available to anyone under 16 years old, it will help the teachers with immunity regarding the virus. 

The DVUSD board is working hard to get all of their employees to cooperate and get vaccinated in order to be able to return to “normal” as soon as possible. With that said, the vaccine is only being distributed to essential workers, in which teachers qualify. This allows them to get the vaccine earlier and be able to get back to work as soon as possible and keep themselves and their students safe. 

For families who do not feel safe with returning their children to school, there is a DVUSD online learning program students can be enrolled in where they do not have to go to school in person, but rather remain online. This program is being upheld into the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year. 

Along with the return to learning plan the DVUSD board has also introduced new members, including Kimberly K. Fisher, Jennie Paperman, and Ann Ordway. With the introduction of new board members, there are new policies and projects to be decided.

The DVUSD board members have collectively agreed that bullying is a huge problem within the district and plan to confront this problem. Bullying an individual or a group of students is a problem that the district has identified throughout the years. Although bullying has always been a problem, little has been done to prevent it. 

With new members on the board, brings new ideas to the table. In result, more action can be taken. Currently the DVUSD board is working on a plan to extinguish bullying and help students who are a victim to it. 

The DVUSD governing board is traditionally in charge of policies, but due to the current coronavirus, they have had to tackle many other tasks like schedules, sports, and even when it is safe to return to school. 

Although the board has always been in charge of policies, much like budget and planning, they have never tackled something quite as big as a global pandemic and planning around it. With the school year in their hands, the board has to be very careful on their decisions on returning to school and extracurricular activities. 

Originally, the board decided that they would not return to school unless there was a consistent decline in cases for a solid two weeks. However, entering the second semester of the school year, there has been a sudden surplus of cases resulting in what the district calls the “red zone.” 

The district came up with three zones which determine the safety of the staff and students. There is the green zone, which is when there is a steady decline in cases; the yellow zone, in which there is an increase of cases but not a dramatic one; and the red zone in which there is a dramatic increase in cases. 

The board originally agreed on not returning to school unless the cases were in the green zone for at least two weeks, but because of backlash and the need to have students in the classroom. Due to funding, many parents and district authorities are pushing students to get back in the classrooms so they do not lose their funding. They have had to adapt to the perimeters.

All in all, there have not been too many drastic changes made during the latest board meeting and everyone is still set to return to campus on their set due dates. With the help of the board and the district, many upperclassmen will hopefully have the opportunity to participate in some traditions instead of being stuck online all spring, although, all of this could change in a matter of time.