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ELOY — Following last month’s meeting, the Santa Cruz Valley Union High School District board hoped to approve a reopening plan during its next meeting. On Thursday evening, the board met again but fell short of that goal.

During last month’s meeting Superintendent Orlenda Roberts told the board that she would gather input from school staff and parents to come up with different options to present to the Governing Board about the high school’s reopening plan.

A draft of the plan was presented the board, but it was not a complete plan, as Roberts was still waiting for input from parents.

“We will be meeting again next week with staff to continue working on this plan,” Roberts said.

Roberts told the board that the intention was to begin either with hybrid learning or full in-person learning to start the second quarter of school, but with the recent increase of COVID-19 numbers in the area, an actual start date is still unknown.

Roberts said that she met with Eloy Elementary School District Superintendent Ruby James because they both have concerns about having the benchmark requirements go back to red, which does not allow schools to offer any type of in-person learning.

“We’re looking at trying to make sure that both districts are in line,” Roberts said.

Board member Richie Reyes expressed concern about not having a plan ready when all the schools in the surrounding area do.

“I understand that Eloy Elementary is our feeder, but are we going to let the Eloy Elementary drive our bus as to when we come back to school or not?” Reyes said. “I think it’s important that we start giving our parents some direction because Casa Grande is back in school, Eloy Elementary has a plan and they’ve communicated their plan. I feel like we still don’t have an idea of what we’re doing.”

The Eloy Elementary School District had set a return date of Oct. 12, dividing students into two groups to go to school on A and B days. That date was pushed back to Oct. 26 as a precaution because of the increased COVID-19 numbers, according to information posted on the Eloy Intermediate School Facebook page.

Roberts told the high school board that she takes full responsibility for not having a completed plan.

“We will continue working next week, and my hope is that within the next two weeks we can make a formal recommendation to the board,” she said. “We’re trying to come up with a comprehensive plan that addresses multiple possibilities, and if certain things happen, that we have steps that we can follow.”

Board President Elizabeth Flores gave a deadline for when the board should have the final plan to move forward.

A special meeting is scheduled for Oct. 19 to discuss the reopening plan and decide on a start date.

“We do need to send out documentation to our families because they are starting to ask and wonder what’s going on,” Flores said.

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Maria Vasquez is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. She can be reached at mvasquez@pinalcentral.com.

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