Navajo Prep gets the green light to start up basketball season, will open Thursday at Zuni

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
Navajo Prep’s Javy Atcitty goes in for a layup against Zuni on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, at the Eagles Nest in Farmington. Prep's board of trustees approved a hybrid learning plan to allow Prep's boys and girls basketball seasons to begin.

FARMINGTON – Navajo Prep finally got the green light to start up basketball season after weeks of waiting for an official decision.

“It’s great. Our kids are excited. Our coaches of course are excited… We’re really happy that we’re able to have winter sports,” Eagles athletic director and girls basketball coach Rainy Crisp said. “It was good just to be in the gym, but really to be in presence of the girls… It’s been a long time coming… This was a very grateful moment for us.”

Navajo Prep's Head of School Shawna Becenti said Prep’s board of trustees approved a hybrid learning plan that took effect on Monday to allow a soft opening involving 25% of priority group students. Becenti also said the hybrid learning plan is being done on a voluntary basis for students and their parents.

Despite Navajo Prep being a grant school authorized by the Navajo Nation, Becenti said the board has the authority to implement the plan. As a result, Prep can initiate its winter and spring sports seasons, Becenti said.

“Ultimately, we’ve conducted surveys, we’ve listened to our students and teachers. Navajo Prep is confident moving to this next phase,” Becenti said.

Becenti said a large majority of Prep’s full-time staff has been fully vaccinated, and that the school wouldn’t have transitioned to this phase if the COVID-19 outlook hadn’t improved.

Becenti, who’s involved with the Navajo Nation’s safety task force and the San Juan County Office of Emergency Management team, also said Prep will “keep abreast” of the latest COVID-19 data in the area and will continue to adhere to the public health guidelines.

Both the boys and girls basketball teams will open the 2020-2021 campaign Thursday at Zuni.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, mhollinshead@daily-times.com and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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