The Clovis Unified School Board hosted their final meeting of the 2021-2022 school year on Wednesday, June 8.
The meeting came with an unsurprising sigh of relief at least from board President Tiffany Stoker Madsen.
“I thought back to a year ago, in August, and what it looked like to start school, and it’s very different from how we ended school. I’m so grateful for the change.”
Madsen was speaking mainly about the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged both the school district as well as the rest of the state’s and the nation’s schools – having to participate in Covid testing, quarantining, and video communication taking the place of classrooms.
The sentiment was repeated by board member Dr. Stephen Fogg as he mentioned, “We have come a long ways, sometimes I think we forget what we’ve been through. I’m not sure if it’s the traumatic thing that we [are trying] to forget, but I don’t think we should because this is hopefully preparing us for the same things that may come.”
Dr. Eimear O’Brien, Superintendent of Clovis Unified, cited the demonstration of the teachers in her district and their willingness to go above and beyond their call of duty this school year.
“Some of the major challenges we had were in September, October, November, December, January-with all of those independent study packets. Could you imagine being a teacher and trying to keep track of five kids out, three come back, two more out, and you are writing a special plan for everyone of those scenarios?” said O’Brien.
She then went on to mention the help received especially from the registrars of each school.
“The registrars were really unsung heroes at all of our schools because they had to manage a significantly higher amount of those documents than they’ve ever had to before.” O’Brien continued.
The superintendent also spoke frankly about the issue of gun violence and security throughout the district in light of the tragic events in Uvalde, Texas.
O’Brien also spoke about the precautions that the district is currently taking to ensure the safety of all throughout the schools in Clovis. These precautions are routine steps that has been implemented within the last two years and not just in response to the recent events in Texas.
The “Emergency Management System/Notification System” or EMS, is a system of cameras, PA announcements, communication amongst law enforcement in the area, and overall safety of those in the school district.
Dr. O’Brien stated that the bond measure of 2020 went into a significant portion of “laying the groundwork” for prioritizing school safety.
The EMS system that O’Brien mentions will be fully completed in all CUSD schools in August of 2022.
O’Brien says that CUSD has met with both Clovis and Fresno PD in order to have full “accessibility, communication, and other components” to fulfill school safety.
“We want to be confident in all our responses in the event of an emergency.”
There are school resource officers placed at every intermediate and high school in the district, and camera systems are continually updated according to the superintendent.
In the event of any emergency, O’Brien assured that PA systems are audited in the summer so that they can be “as effective as they can be”.
The rest of the school board meeting went on in preparation for the next meeting coming in July, the first school board meeting of the 2022-2023 school year.
Reaching the other side of the pandemic, the final meeting of the 2021-2022 school year finished the slow burn of a long morrow for the Clovis Unified School Board.