FMSUD School Board held a special meeting on August 11, and opened with public comments regarding items both on and off the agenda.

Lisa Allen spoke on behalf of herself, her husband Harris Allen, and Shonna Black, who were unable to attend. She stated she feels it is important to make sure the children are in school, and while there are chances for illness, there are also opportunities to grow. She asked the school board to look at the numbers for COVID-19 in an accurate form and strive to get the school back to normal so the community can get back to normal and progress.

Eric McCormick stated if Fredonia does not have students in the classroom, people will start looking elsewhere for their children’s education. When making decisions for Fredonia, he asked the board to remember, “We are not Flagstaff. We are not Page. Those who have predominant voices in Coconino County are not us.”

Superintendent Todd Gilmore presented the latest recommendations for returning to activities/sports from the AIA (a complete list of the fall sports modifications can be found at aiaonline.org/files/17110/fall-2020-sports-modifications.pdf).

Gilmore then presented the Arizona Department of Health Services Reopening Guidelines regarding safely returning to in-person instruction for schools. Gilmore explained the benchmarks for communities, which include: Cases – two weeks below 100 cases per 100,000 (not including the current week); Percent Positivity – two weeks with percent positivity below seven percent (not including the current week); and Covid-like Illness – two weeks with hospital visits due to COVID-like illness below 10 percent.

Because Fredonia is so isolated from the larger cities and other parts of Coconino County – making county data often non-applicable to our small school – Gilmore thoroughly researched the local trends. He reached out to Kane County Hospital and was able to verify on a local level all the benchmarks are met. Gilmore also presented data for other schools and areas in the county to show how Fredonia compares.

After extensive discussion regarding protocols, how much influence the rest of the state should have on Fredonia’s decisions, and how to integrate the parent’s answers from the recent survey and Governor Ducey’s executive orders into Fredonia School’s COVID Mitigation Plan, the board voted to approve the current COVID mitigation plan with plans to revisit it at each upcoming board meeting. This plan was mailed to parents, and is also available in the district office.

During the Superintendent’s Report, Gilmore said the school had purchased blue and white bandannas for all the students, and so far the first days of orientation were going well. He also stated school staff would start meeting together each Wednesday morning following board meetings, and he hoped this would help the schools integrate as a district, rather than two separate schools.

The board approved Natalie Gallatin teaching at the high school in the morning, and teaching PE and art at the elementary school in the afternoon.

They also stated they wanted to let the coaches know the board supports the “pre-season” practices, and approved the practice start dates and AIA updated practice protocols.

The board voted to replace policy GDAF-E with policy GCFC-E, approved a change to paragraph 19 of policy KB, and tabled changes to policy IHA until clarification regarding the changes is made available.