Health Update


Health Update

More information regarding school opening coming soon.

Letters from the Superintendent

June 25, 2020 - RE: Board Meeting - New Start Date

June 25, 2020

Dear Parents,

It has been a little less than two weeks since I last wrote to you. At that time, I indicated that we were working hard on plans to open school on time in July. In the same email, I also noted that the conditions around COVID-19 remain very fluid.

As of this writing it has become apparent that additional time before the start of the new school year would be very helpful to address the following issues: 

1) Arizona and Pima County are currently experiencing a record spike of COVID-19 cases. According to Governor Ducey’s news conference today, this spike is expected to last into July. 

2) Additional planning time is needed to ensure that details around the three instructional choices and safety precautions for schools are fully developed and in place before the start of the school year. 

As such, our Governing Board is meeting tomorrow evening at 6:00PM to discuss the possibility of moving the start of the school year to August 10 for all K-8 schools and high schools. 

The Governing Board will also review three instructional choices for your family that will be made available next year along with health and safety plans for school sites. The instructional choices include:

  1. On Campus Learning where school will be as close to normal as possible with enhanced health and safety precautions in place. 
  2. “Brick to Click” Learning that allows students to learn remotely for short intervals of time while remaining connected to their regular schools. 
  3. Full-Time Digital Learning with the Vail Innovation Center (VIC) delivered by Vail teachers to provide virtual learning in your home for a full semester or school year.

The board meeting will be streamed live for those who would like to view it. A link to the livestream video will be made available on our website at www.vailschooldistrict.org.

If you have questions or comments regarding the new school year, please feel free to reach out to us at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

John Carruth

June 12, 2020 - RE: Opening Schools Survey

June 12, 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your family are healthy and are enjoying your summer. I’d like to provide you with an update on plans for next school year.

Our primary focus since the end of the school year has been planning for our return to school. Thank you for your feedback through the parent survey and other correspondence. It has helped shape the decision making.

We are planning to open schools on-time in July.

We are working closely with Governor Ducey’s office, the Arizona Department of Education, and state and county health officials. As of this writing, Governor Ducey has stated that schools will be allowed to open on time.

The reality is that conditions around COVID-19 are fluid and will likely remain so through much of this next school year. As such we are planning for flexibility and parent choice.

We are developing three primary choices for you and your family.

  1. School as close to normal as possible with reasonable health and safety precautions in place.

A list of logistics and safety precautions being considered is attached to this letter.

  1. A “Brick to Click” option that allows students to learn remotely for short intervals of time while remaining connected to their regular schools.

A student or group of students may want to remain connected to their regular school but may need to learn remotely due to health concerns, illness, or personal reasons.

  1. On-line school with the Vail Innovation Center delivered by Vail teachers to provide virtual learning in your home for a full semester or school year.

For over 15 years, Vail has offered on-line learning to support parents who choose to home school their children or need them to learn remotely. This program is offered through our Vail Innovation Center. Information about this program can be found here.

Our desire is to provide you with information about your family’s options for the start of the new school year. We are not asking you to choose right now. As more details develop around each plan, we will share them with you and let you know how to indicate your choice. If you have any questions, please contact newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org or me directly.

Vail’s Mission Statement reads: We seek to provide parents with safe and nurturing school communities, where their children can obtain a quality education. As we plan for next school year, it is our deep desire to execute all three of these core values.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this uncharted territory together.

Respectfully,

John Carruth

May 20, 2020 - RE: School Opening Update

May 20, 2020

Dear Parents,

I’d like to speak with you today about our upcoming school year, but before I do so, I’d like to pause and take a moment to simply say thank you. So much has occurred since we closed schools in March, and frankly, you have been our partners in that process in unprecedented ways. In a very short period of time, we pivoted to provide high-quality educational opportunities to home for you and your children; together we have served almost 200,000 meals to young people in our community, and we have found meaningful ways to honor our graduating seniors. We say that education is a partnership with you, and we know that we have leaned on that partnership in unusual ways over this time. So simply, thank you.

Like you, I think we’re all looking to the future and some semblance of normal. As we look to the future, we intend to use our time-honored Vail values to guide our path. We are a place “where education is a community effort,” and we seek to provide you, parents, with safe nurturing school communities where your children can receive a high-quality education.

Opening school in July is now our primary focus. We recognize, however, that public health restrictions at that time may alter our plans or restrict us from doing so. However, we must be prepared, and we must have a plan. Our primary goal is to return to school as normal as possible given the health restrictions at that time. We know how to do traditional school really well, and we’re proud of that. To that end, we are working on implementing precautions at our schools that will allow the safe return for students and staff.

We also understand that restrictions may prevent us from doing this for a period of time, or simply, that this model won’t work for you or your family for a period of time. Therefore, we are working on a hybrid option that will allow your child to remain connected to their school, their teachers, and their friends. We are also expanding our current virtual option that is offered through our Vail Innovation Center and delivered by our Vail teachers if you feel that that might be a better option to meet your needs.

As we look to next year, we also are looking to you for guidance to help in our planning. Attached to this video is a short, three question survey that when you fill it out, it will give us information that will help us better meet your family’s needs.

Help guide our planning for the next school year!

We recognize that this is an unprecedented time for everyone, and we long for the day when we can all be together again. Education, after all, is a social endeavor, and we really miss your kids.

I know in a short video, I’m not able to answer all your questions or address all of your concerns. To that end, we have created an email address that you can reach out to at NewSchoolYear@VailSchoolDistrict.org, or simply reach out to me, and I’ll do my best to address your concerns. Thank you for your time, and take care.

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 30, 2020 - RE: School Closures through the Remainder of the School Year

March 30, 2020

Dear Parents,

This morning Governor Doug Ducey announced the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. You can read the full announcement here.

While schools may be closed, we will continue to provide educational opportunities much like the ones we saw last week. You can also expect ongoing communication from myself, your child’s principal, and teachers as we work through questions that remain for our students and families for the remainder of the year.

To parents of seniors, rest assured that one of our highest priorities is to make sure that your children graduate and also have an opportunity to be properly celebrated as they mark the completion of their K-12 career. We are also discussing plans to celebrate other significant milestones such as promotion ceremonies, etc. We will be in contact with specific details as they are finalized.

We have been tremendously encouraged by the outpouring of support for the hard work in which our teachers and staff are engaged. We are deeply appreciative of the high level of parent engagement as we work together to support educational opportunities for your child. 

It has been a wonderful example of our motto “Where education is a community effort!” 

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 20, 2020 - RE: School Closures Extended

March 20, 2020

Dear Parents,

Governor Doug Ducey announced an extension of school closures across Arizona until April 10, 2020. You can read the full announcement here.

All school related activities and sports will be canceled through April 10th. 

By now you should have received contact from your child’s principal outlining specific plans to address learning opportunities for next week. Our staff is actively making plans to adjust academic delivery for a longer closure. You can expect further communication about those plans next week.

A survey is being sent out this afternoon to help us determine if you need any assistance with devices or internet connectivity or if your children require breakfast/lunch meals from school.

 Our district is not currently eligible to serve meals during school closures due to not meeting the minimum requirement for students who qualify for Free/Reduced Lunch services. We have asked the Arizona Department of Education for a waiver that will allow us to serve breakfast and lunch during the school closure. We will let you know the plans to distribute breakfasts and lunches if the waiver is granted.

In the meantime, if you need assistance with food for your children, you can contact Heather Stough at: stoughh@vailschooldistrict.org or the ReSources Food Bank here.

We are waiting to make any decisions about all school related activities beyond April 10th, including graduations. The nature of the way COVID-19 is spreading and the subsequent response is too uncertain for us to make concrete decisions about future events at this time.  

What truly sets Vail apart is our connections to our community and our commitment to serve one another. As Margaret Mead said, “Helping someone through difficulty is where civilization begins.” 

It is encouraging to see so much kindness and caring across our community. That is what makes Vail such a special place to live and raise our children. 

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 18, 2020 - RE: School Closures Update

March 18, 2020

Dear Parents,

We have been spending considerable time crafting plans to offer support to you and your children while our schools are closed as part of the state’s plan to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

We are preparing to return to school on March 30th while simultaneously preparing for the reality that school closures could be extended.  

You will be receiving notice from your child’s principal soon regarding the specifics of those plans over the course of the remainder of the closures. Should the closures be extended, we will continue to communicate with you regarding the implications and our plans to move forward.

If you have specific questions regarding plans or the impact of the closures on certain events, please consult with your child’s principal or with me. Events around COVID-19 are changing rapidly. We will do our best to answer your questions with the information that we have at that time. 

Our community is a very special place. Our children are our most precious gift. While we plan and adjust to this unprecedented time, we lean on time tested “Vail values” to guide us:

  • We are a place where education is a community effort. 
  • We are reminded how to ACT. 
  • And as a staff, we seek to provide you, parents, with a safe place where your children can obtain a quality education.

These values don’t prevent us from making mistakes, but they do call us all to work together, to extend grace to each other when we stumble, and simply, to do the best we can while educating our children and serving our community- regardless of the circumstances.  

Kindly,

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 15, 2020 - RE: School Closures

March 15, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Governor Doug Ducey has just announced statewide school closures to take effect March 16th through March 27th.

Please review the announcement from the Governor and the State Superintendent to parents here.

This means that Vail students will have an extended Spring Break through March 30th. We are making plans to provide learning opportunities for the week of March 23rd through March 27th and beyond if necessary.

The Governor’s announcement encourages the continuation of childcare options. As of now, our Community Services and VIP childcare will remain open.

Please be on the lookout for further communication before school resumes on March 30th.

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 12, 2020 - RE: COVID-19

March 12, 2020

Dear Parents,

I want to provide an update to the message that I sent out yesterday as the issues surrounding COVID-19 are evolving rapidly.

Earlier today, we participated in a conference call with Governor Ducey, Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, and Kathy Hoffman, Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Their collective recommendation is that schools remain open at this time.

Fortunately, our students are on spring break until March 23. Our plan is to return to school as usual at that time.

Our district webpage has up to date information on prevention strategies and preparations parents should be considering related to the COVID-19 virus.  You can find that information at: www.vailschooldistrict.org or https://vailschooldistrict.org/health-update/

We are continuing with a thorough cleaning of all schools and high touch areas.  We are also finalizing contingency plans for further restrictions if they are recommended by county or state health officials.

You can expect a communication from me or from your school principal prior to school resuming on the 23rd that will include any updates or adjustments needed to our regular school routine.

In the meantime, we hope you all are enjoying Spring break.

John Carruth – Superintendent

March 11, 2020 - RE: COVID-19

March 11, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We continue to closely monitor events surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19), and we wish to keep you informed as it relates to students, staff, and parents in the Vail community.

Yesterday, I attended a meeting for superintendents hosted by the Pima County Health Department (PCHD). Dr. Francisco Garcia, the Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Bob English, the Director of PCHD presented the current state of COVID-19 in our area.

Based on the information they have at this time about the virus and its spread, they are making the strong recommendation to keep schools open and operating with the following reminders:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

District leadership met yesterday to discuss, plan, and prepare for the return of students on March 23rd.

We anticipate learning and business as usual upon our return from break. As precautionary measures, all sites as well as buses are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected during the break to ensure a clean slate on the first day back. Plans for increased disinfecting of high touch surfaces are also in the works.

We are also preparing should the situation escalate in Vail. We will keep you posted should any changes occur.

If you have specific questions about your child’s school, I encourage you to contact your child’s principal about preparations and plans at their respective school.

Rest assured that your child’s safety, and that of our staff and community, is of paramount importance. Please be on the lookout for further communication before school resumes, and enjoy the rest of your break.

John Carruth – Superintendent

VUSD Pandemic Protocol Information

The Vail School District has developed a pandemic flu plan to address a possible influenza pandemic. Leading health authorities tell us that it is not a matter of if a pandemic will occur, but rather when it will occur. Making this plan a part of the district’s overall safety plan allows the district to move ahead quickly using many of the components which are already in place. This electronic toolkit is designed to help staff, students and their families quickly and easily locate the large volume of pandemic influenza information and resources that are already available around the country. A variety of topics relevant to both seasonal and pandemic influenza are listed and web site links are provided.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes

Pandemic and Seasonal Flu Education and Preventative Messages for Parents

CDC’s Updated Coronavirus Direction for Schools (K-12) and Daycares

Pandemic Preparedness, Arizona Department of Education,  March 12, 2020

New 2020 Coronavirus Facilities and Bus Cleaning Guidelines

Key Facts about the Flu

Pandemic Flu Characteristics & Challenges

Pima County Health Department’s Information on the Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

State of Arizona Pandemic Influenza Response Plan

Pima County Health Department Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan

Pandemic and Seasonal Flu Education and Preventive Messages for Parents

Preventing the Spread of Flu in the Workplace

World Health Organization Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Respone (EPR)

Pandemic Preparedness Resources

Protect yourself and others from getting and spreading respiratory illness like pandemic flu.  Follow these Non pharmaceutical interventions

Pandemic Checklists for K-12 Schools

Pandemic Checklists for Child Care Facilities

Pandemic Checklists for Workplace Administrators

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – COVID-19 Spread in Communities

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Information for Schools and Daycares

Cleaning Schools and Buses

Washing Hands and Preventing Illnesses

Information on Influenza Symptoms, Treatment and Vaccinations

Travel Advisories

 

Travel Advisories can be seen throughout the world on a color-coded map.

The State Department advises that conditions can change rapidly at any time. To receive updated Travel Advisories and alerts, choose the method that works best for you at travel.state.gov/stayingconnected.

Current United States Department of State International Travel Advisories

The Center for Disease Control and Preventions travel level destinations for travelers and clinicians