Needles High School

With only a couple of months until classes are supposed to begin for the 2020-21 school year, the administration at Needles Unified School District is working on a variety of scenarios that will affect plans for students in attendance.

NEEDLES — The Needles Unified School District’s goal is to return all students to school the way it was in the upcoming

school year. “However, the way it was at this point in time is going to be impacted by all the requirements,” said Dr. Mary McNeil, NUSD superintendent.

There are seven categories that the NUSD has to go through and see how each subcategory affects them as a school district.

The first category is instructional material and what the reopening

of the schools could look like.

• Full face to face return: 100% of students return to school with safety

guidelines — if COVID-19 risks are determined to below in the community based on the San Bernardino Department of

Public Health.

•  Blended 50% of students return with hybrid schedule if COVID-19 incidence increased in community and SBDPH recommends increased restrictions.

•  Hybrid 20% of students return one day a week, remaining days online (if SDPH requires fewer than 10 students in

the class).

•  100%  distance  online learning for all students, if COVID-19 becomes significant community risk

and closure is recommended by SDPH. The second category is

wellness. Safety-Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is one of the most important things that was put forth by the county McNeil said. “Our liability insurance does require that all staff wear masks and the conversation around students the different groups are saying different things so it hasn’t been determined,” said Mcneil.

Other subcategories in wellness are hygiene, prevention via temperature management, identifying

and addressing illness, returning from illness, creating and providing an isolation space. The third category is the facilities.That emphisizes sanitizing and ventilation, classroom layouts, passing periods and office areas.

“We are supposed to make sure students don’t walk past each other so we have to mark halls with markers, stickers, duck tape but we have to have routes,” said McNeil. “We are supposed to keep visitors off-campus, we are supposed to have sneeze guards and teachers have to be six feet away from students.

“We are planning on doing everything we are supposed we are just trying to figure out whatthat’s supposed to look


The fourth category is operations.

Regarding transportation, McNeil stated that right now, students are supposed to be seated one per seat every other


“That’s a concern right now not just for our district but for a lot of districts

because we don’t have additional busses or bus drivers,” said McNeil.

Child nutrition services also are a challenge.

“We are not supposed to use the cafeteria to feed students and part of it is that we can’t use the

cafeteria to feed students,” said McNeil. “So we are looking at grab and go meals, playgrounds are supposed to be used on a very limited basis.”

The fifth category is technology.

In the 2020-21 school year, every student is going to be able to have a Chromebook that they can checkout.

“If we are in distance learning every student will be able to have one,” said McNeil. “In terms of our elementary

students, they have their hotspots and websites that they can go to.”

The sixth and seventh categories are sports throughout the district schools.

At the high school level, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association final guidelines approved June

16 and 17, the district is waiting on California to reopen youth sports and the NUSD is seeking SBCDPH approval to follow NIAA guidelines.

“Even with Nevada open, California has not reopened for sports so the problem we run into is that we play in Nevada but are an authorized agency in California,” said McNeil. “I contacted various people asking who do I have to talk to and ask when Nevada gets their final guidelines how can we start allowing kids to do that. Last Friday, the director of the public health department told me I have to wait until California opens up but I am constantly asking that question of him and his group because I know that things change.”

At the middles school level, the Arizona Interscholastic Association guidelines have been published, the NUSD is waiting on California to reopen youth sports, the NUSD is seeking SBCDPH approval to follow AIA guidelines.

There are a several things that the NUSD is waiting on to proceed further into getting schools open:

California School JPA Risk Management/Insurance Authority for NUSD.

Governor’s further reopening of youth sports. SBCDPH approval of reopening plan 2020-21.

SBC Superintendent of Schools Approval of reopening 2020-21.

NUSD Board of Trustees approval for reopening plan 2020-21.

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