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Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy adds two COVID mitigation days to MLK weekend

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Spring Butterflies

In this file photo from 2015, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership students, from left to right, Malia Tong, 17, Grace Kennedy, 16, and Jazlee Crowley, 17, paste butterflies onto a mural at their school.

After last week’s return from winter break, Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy (FALA) has decided to use its two remaining snowdays as community spread mitigation days.

The school sent an announcement to families Wednesday afternoon that school would be canceled the following Tuesday and Wednesday (Jan. 18 and 19) “in an effort to be responsive to increased positivity on campus and the rise of internal community spread.” With the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday closing school on Monday, this means a five-day weekend for FALA students.

The school's production of "Peter and the Starcatcher" will take place virtually at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Tickets can be bought online.

“I realize that some of this is a shift from where we were last week, but our goal is to be responsive and proactive and yet also minimize any further adjustments to schedule, location and learning loss,” director Eli Cohen wrote in the announcement.

The school had reported at least 12 cases among students as well as one in its staff. A clip of 20% of students have had close contacts, according to the announcement.

“In the end, the goal of all of this is to reduce spread, and also give time to further dialogue and discuss what we can do to support learners who need to stay home while keeping as many students as possible on campus to learn,” Cohen wrote.

The two snowdays FALA is using for this mitigation plan are the last the school has allotted in its 2021-22 schedule. If they need to close campus due to weather or another reason, school will move to a virtual format so the school calendar will not need to change.

FALA will also be using its pooled testing program to increase the impact of its mitigation days. Pooled testing will take place Thursday as usual, and an additional round will be conducted once school resumes.

A second round of weekly testing will be added on Mondays starting Jan. 24.

FALA is continuing to seek ideas from leadership and staff to continue mitigation efforts. More information can be found at flagarts.com/covid/.

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