Harvest Preparatory Academy (HPA) has reported that it will be suspending all in-person learning, distance learning and its after-school PM Program until Jan. 24 due to an upsurge in COVID-19 cases. Students will still have access to online instruction and learning packets with assignments to stay current on their education. Harvest’s preschool will remain open.

Debi Ybarra, executive director for HPA, explained that the school will be using the closure as a refocusing and healing moment. She referred to the need for the closure as worse than the worst part of the previous year, stating that she has never had so many employees out from work. She also noted that there hasn’t been much spread originating from in-school, but as the letter to parents states, there’s still been an upsurge in positive cases among students and staff.

“We keep the building sanitized,” she said. “There seems to be a lot coming from the outside. Possibly during [winter] break, but there’s not much spread in school.”

The letter to parents sent out Thursday emphasized the charter school’s top priority to “reduce and keep everyone safe from transmission of COVID-19,” stating that the administration believes it is the best decision for students and staff currently.

As the school focuses on getting well to resume in-person instruction, Ybarra reports that they’re assisting their employees with getting better by providing them with good vitamins in the hopes that they’ll boost their immune systems.

HPA is also providing community meals in a drive through format from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the closure. Calls to HPA will also be answered remotely.

Upon returning to in-person instruction, the letter states that a mask mandate will be considered if numbers have not dropped. Ybarra further explained that it will depend on the percentage of people that have it.

“I’ve always been about people having their choices about that,” she said and added that if spread continues, the mandate will be considered for staff.

In the meantime, HPA encourages students and staff to wear masks and continue to keep the community safe by following all health guidelines such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, using hand sanitizer, practicing social distancing and reducing unnecessary time in crowded spaces.

To stay updated on HPA, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/harvestprep/.

Sisko J. Stargazer can be reached at 928-539-6849 or sstargazer@yumasun.com.

Sisko J. Stargazer can be reached at 928-539-6849 or sstargazer@yumasun.com.

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