Yuma-1 Board hears from parents

The Yuma School District-1 Board of Education heard from the public on a few different issues, Monday night during its regular monthly meeting at the district office.
All five board members were in attendance — Dan Ross, Kim Langley, Lyndsey Galles, Thomas Holtorf and Duane Brown.
Yuma-1’s reaction to COVID-19 cases was the topic for some parents.
Krissy King first addressed the board. After thanking the board for the work they put in, she proceeded to talk about how her family had reservations about sending their children back to school this year. However, she attended the August board meeting, during which a return to school plan was adopted that put her family at ease.
However, there then was an outbreak at YMS, which resulted in Yuma-1 implementing visitor restrictions and some other protocols (since lifted), including some contact tracing.
King said the action taken by Yuma-1 went against its back to school plan, particularly contact tracing. She said she has had visits with Superintendent Dianna Chrisman, has made open records request, and even re-listened to the August board meeting recording. King said she visited with Trish McClain of the Northeast Colorado Health Department, and contact tracing at YMS was not mandated or required by the NCHD.
She said Chrisman told her that the schools had to do contact tracing last year by default, but the district found a need to do it on its own during last month’s incident.
King said she can make the best decisions for her children, and noted that no one with the district voiced concerns with reopening plan when approved in August. She asked how parents can be ensured by the district that it will not happen again.
Deidre Huwa told the board her family had difficulty getting their child to return to Yuma schools after last year, which she said was very difficult for him. She said the district’s plan states protocols might have to be adjusted, but it is not clear what would trigger such a move. She said she would like to have some clarification so her son could have a clear understanding.
Jacqie Monk told the board she has a child with some health concerns, and she is nervous about what the school district might do, particularly with cases climbing again in Yuma County.
Ross, the board president, later stated the board will meet with administration to get some clarifications, and hopes to have some answers for the parents within the next month.
Megan Armstrong, Jeremy Armstrong, and Jeremy’s parents Ron and Sue, had a scheduled audience with the board concerning their autistic children attending the Yuma schools.
Megan and Jeremy have two sons with autism, but both have made progress through specialized therapy to the point they can attend school. However, the school district has denied their own therapists being in school with them.
The Armstrongs explained that their oldest, Mitch, has made incredible strides since beginning Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, and loves going to school. However, he only goes part-time, then spends six hours in the specialized therapy — which is done in real-time with adjustments constantly being made.
The youngest was in Little Indians Preschool, but again the outside therapist was denied, so he now goes to Yuma Children’s Academy for half the day, but does not receive all the services needed.
The parents made clear the services would be at no cost to the school district. Megan Armstrong said she wants her kids in the Yuma schools, but wants to know why they cannot get the services they need in the Yuma schools.
Jeremy Armstrong stressed to the board that a panel of specialist doctors through Children’s Hospital that decided the ABA therapy was what was needed for their son. The school does provide a para for the sons when in school, and the district’s autism program is fine, but it is a one-size-fits-all.
He said several states allow the specialized therapists to be in school with the autistic youth, adding there is a long contract involved.
Ross told the Armstrongs the district will take the information provided by the family under advisement, and meet with lawyers and insurance representatives if and how to move forward. He noted it is something new for Yuma-1, and the district wants to make sure it is done the correct way.