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Sierra Vista Unified
Sierra Vista Unified
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SVUSD reinstates mask mandate

With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Cochise County, the Sierra Vista Unified School District at Tuesday’s board meeting decided to reinstate its districtwide mask mandate for all students, staff and visitors.

“Our goal is to keep our kids in school and to keep our buildings open,” said SVUSD Superintendent Dr. Eric Holmes. “So we’re hoping that if we can have a month and a few days of mask wearing, maybe (it) will get us a little bit further through this delta variant — an issue the whole country seems to be having — that it would be to the benefit of our students and staff.”

Currently, Cochise County — and the state of Arizona — is in high transmission of COVID-19 according to the Arizona Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 dashboard.

SVUSD Public Information Officer Valerie Weller said the district-wide mask mandate will take effect on Aug. 19 and will continue through Sept. 28.

For more information, check out our article HERE.

Cochise County kicks off the 2021-22 school year on a solid note

As schools across the country return back to school, classrooms once again buzz with students, teachers and staff gracing the hallways as more districts return to in-person learning. 

Herald/Review reporter @Dana Cole  reported that the Tombstone Unified School District reported having a smooth first day of the 2021-22 school year, with the high school having a record number of freshmen students with a class size of 156. 

Herald/Review Sports Editor and Douglas Reporter @Bruce Whetten  also reported a smooth first day for the Douglas Unified School District, with approximately 150 incoming freshmen and first year sophomores partaking in Douglas High School’s boot camp.

Over in the Sierra Vista Unified School District, enrollment numbers are up, but many high schoolers struggled on the first day of school to get last-minute registration forms submitted and schedules finalized. 

What are your thoughts as students return back to in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

SVUSD board approves $4 million allocation from ESSER grants toward employee retention program

The Sierra Vista Unified School District Governing Board, after receiving three installments of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grants, has approved $4 million to create a new retention incentive program for all district employees.

“If you were here last year and you are here now, this is for you and we want to make sure that you stay and that you stay over a long period of time,” SVUSD Superintendent Dr. Eric Holmes said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “Because we want you here."

SVUSD Public Information Officer Valerie Weller said the incentives will be distributed in three installments: one at the end of August, one in December and one in June. She said only district employees who were hired for the 2020-21 school year are eligible for the August installment.

During the public comment section of the meeting, three members of the public expressed concerns about the mask requirement for visitors to SVUSD campuses and critical race theory.

For more information about the employee incentive program and the public comments, check out our feature HERE.

SVUSD returns to full in-person schooling

Sierra Vista Unified School District started the 2021-22 school year Aug. 4 with the buzz of students, teachers and staff gracing the halls once again as all eight sites returned to full in-person instruction.

Here's our rundown.

Despite changes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made to its COVID-19 mask guidelines, which recommends masks be worn indoors by students age 2 and older, teachers, staff and visitors, SVUSD Public Information Officer Valerie Weller said masks are optional for students and staff, but required for visitors.

At Buena High School, the anticipation of returning to in-person classes after a year of a hybrid schedule was juxtaposed by lecture pods of students attempting to register last-minute on the first day of class.

Weller said the numerous students queued at the school’s front office was due to the backlog of students and families who did not complete paperwork that verifies and documents students’ proof of residency within district boundaries.

“There’s enrollment, which most of these students were, and there’s what we call our spring registration or spring attestation,” said Weller. “We actually have to check and make sure that our students still live within our district ...

“It’s always been a rule, it just was never enforced ... It was done online back in the spring ... And so now, these are just students (and) families that either didn’t provide the right documentation or … (it) got glossed over by accident.”

For more information, check out our coverage HERE.