By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter
For Rick Ogston, the CEO of Desert View Schools in Yuma, one of the biggest challenges for his charter schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has been all the changing information and approaches to curbing the virus.
“Really, it has been the everchanging information about COVID. Wear a mask, don’t wear a mask,” said Ogston. “Then you get into the emotional elements,” he said.
Ogston said all the moving targets related to COVID, including when schools can reopen have complicated responses and plans of how to best protect students, teachers, and staff. “I know science is trying to catch up with the virus,” Ogston said.
HealthyVerify Certification is helping Ogston and Desert View navigate COVID-19, develop best practices related to social distancing and keeping students and teachers safe and building confidence towards a potential reopening later this fall.
Desert View operates three public charter schools (2 traditional schools and one online). It has 1,000 students.
The Arizona-based HealthyVerify (HVC) is the country’s only independent medically based, scientific, and professional certification company helping reduce the risk of COVID-19. The company helps its clients go above and beyond U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other guidelines and recommendations for curbing the spread of COVID-19.
HVC partners with infectious disease experts from the Barrow Neurological Institute and researchers at Arizona State University to reduce the risk of spreading infectious diseases.The company is helping other schools and school districts develop best practices for COVID-19.
Those include the Avondale Elementary School District, Fowler Elementary School District, Scottsdale Unified School District, CREO schools, Isaac District, among others.
HealthyVerify is also helping other businesses, workplaces, and organizations with their COVID response including the City of Goodyear, Goodwill of Northern & Central Arizona, Offerpad, Haydon Building Corp., and the Gompers nonprofit and community services group.
Ogston said Desert View schools will open for online instruction on August 17th. He said the charter schools will revisit when it will be best to open for in-school classes. “We also are going to look at that after Labor Day and look at it again October 1st,” Ogston said.
HealthyVerify is helping Desert View on remote and virtual learning options, best practices for messaging to parents on guidelines for when students should stay home and having individually wrapped grab and go meals to minimize contact at cafeterias.
Ogston said HealthyVerify is providing updates on best practices and changing landscapes related to COVID. “They’ve been very helpful. They’ve been very responsive,” he said.
HealthyVerify is also working with the schools on cohorting polices that keep students and teachers in groups reducing their contact with others during the school day.
HVC also worked with Desert View to develop procedures for students who feel ill during the day and setting aside rooms where they can be cared for and to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID or other viruses.