School Opening and COVID-19 Information


School Opening and COVID-19 Information

Welcome to the Return to School Information Site

This site has been developed to inform Vail parents of plans regarding the opening of the Vail School District for the 2020/2021 school year. We recognize that as plans are made, some of those plans will need to be modified and adjusted as conditions around COVID-19 are still fluid across Arizona. As some of these topics are still being discussed and considered, you may find areas that are under consideration. As decisions are finalized, the sections will be updated on this site.

If you have questions or concerns after reviewing the information here, please feel free to contact us at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

CHOOSE YOUR PATH BACK TO SCHOOL

*Please review the information on this page and then scroll to the bottom to select an education option for your child(ren).

Our FIRST guiding principle states, “We respect parents. We operate on behalf of parents and assist them in the education of their children. We deeply value parental choice and involvement.”

Parents must make the choice for their children returning to school for the 2020/2021 school year that best meets their own family’s circumstances. The Vail School District has multiple options from which parents can choose. 

Please rest assured that all of the options below will be vastly different from the educational opportunities provided during 4th quarter of 2019/2020. All options will include mastery learning as well as student accountability with grades assigned.

See the details below and select the option you wish to choose for each student attending Vail schools in 2020/2021.

School begins remotely on August 10th. Students may attend through their current school or through the Vail Innovation Center (VIC).

Students enrolled in the VIC will continue remotely through the entire first semester.

Students learning remotely through their current school will have two options when campuses are allowed to re-open – start attending in-person or attend through Brick to Click.

Please review the options below.

On Campus Learning

Begins when campuses are allowed to open in-person

Pre-School

  • For VIP Students ONLY:
  • 4 day week in person
  • Times:  AM or PM Session
  • Instruction provided by VIP Certified Teachers
  • Standards and IEP based learning
  • Therapy provided in person during classroom session (OT, PT, Speech)
  • Enhanced safety measures
  • Gross motor opportunities and outdoor recess

Therapy Connections – Option for families wanting in person therapy but not to attend classes when the campus is open.

  • In person therapy (small group)
  • Ideal for families comfortable being on campus in a small group setting 

Kinder - 5th Grades

  • 5 days per week in person
  • Mastery learning
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • Enhanced safety measures
  • Vail teachers & curriculum
  • Specials, Advanced Math, and ELP available
  • Recess and breaks
  • State and district testing required
  • Ideal for families who are ready to come back to school full time

6th - 8th Grades

  • 5 days per week in person
  • Mastery learning in all content areas delivered on campus
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • Traditional environment with enhanced safety measures
  • Vail teachers & curriculum
  • Comprehensive middle school experience
  • Reteach/Enrich & Specials available
  • State and district testing required
  • When feasible – extracurricular activities and athletics
  • Ideal for families who are ready to come back to school full time

 

High School

  • 5 days per week in person
  • Mastery learning in all classes
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • Enhanced safety measures
  • Vail teachers & curriculum
  • Elective classes available
  • State and district testing required
  • Ideal for families who are ready to come back to school full time

 

Brick to Click Learning

Begins when campuses are allowed to open in-person

Pre-School

  • 4 day a week remote instruction – participation required by student and families regularly
  • Standards and IEP based learning delivered through Schoology (online platform)
  • Online circle time (live and recorded) twice a week for students to attend
  • Support for families to provide at home remote instruction with routines, schedules and learning environment tips
  • Weekly zoom meeting between teacher, student, and family to build relationships and continue connections
  • Therapy provided remotely (OT, PT, Speech) with parent participation
  • Instruction provided by VIP Certified Teacher  (might not be assigned classroom teacher)

Kinder - 5th Grades

  • Available for up to a semester
  • 5 days per week remotely – Daily participation required
  • Lessons will be recorded by classroom teacher so they can be viewed by students at flexible times
  • Virtual office hours provided
  • Mastery learning lessons in core content delivered through Schoology
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • Continued connection to current Vail School
  • Vail teachers and curriculum aligned to classroom learning
  • District formative and benchmark testing required and done remotely 
  • Daily parental support is essential
  • Internet connection required
  • District devices available 
  • Advanced Math, ELP, and some specials available

6th - 8th Grades

  • Available for up to a semester
  • 5 days per week remotely – Daily participation required
  • Lessons will be recorded by classroom teachers to provide flexibility
  • Mastery learning lessons in LA, Math, Social Studies, and Science delivered through Schoology
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • Students encouraged to follow a class schedule
  • Continued connection to current Vail School
  • Vail teachers and curriculum
  • District formative and benchmark testing required and done remotely
  • Internet connection required
  • District devices provided

High School

  • Available for up to a semester
  • 5 days per week remotely – Daily participation is required
  • Instruction will delivered “live” and students will follow a daily class schedule
  • Mastery learning in all classes
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • AP, Honors, and Electives available
  • Students will receive both real time and online instruction via Schoology
  • Continued connection to current Vail School
  • District formative and benchmark testing required and done remotely 
  • Vail teachers and curriculum
  • Internet connection required
  • District devices provided

Full Time Digital Learning

Begins on August 10th

Pre-School

  • 4 day a week remote instruction participation required by student and families regularly
  • Standards and IEP based learning delivered through Schoology (online platform)
  • Daily Online circle time (live and recorded) for students to attend
  • Support for families to provide at home remote instruction with routines, schedules and visual support for  learning environment tips
  • Therapy provided remotely (OT, PT, Speech) with parent participation
  • Instruction provided by VIP Certified Teacher (might not be assigned classroom teacher)

Kinder - 5th Grades

  • Flexible pacing of classes
  • Mastery learning
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • Enrolled at the Vail Innovation Center
  • Extracurriculars available through “home” school
  • Child’s spot will be saved at “home” school
  • Includes real time online  instruction
  • Vail teachers
  • Online curriculum modified to match Vail curriculum
  • Daily parental support is essential
  • State testing required
  • Elective classes available
  • Internet connection and a computer is required
  • Semester long commitment
  • Advanced Math, credit advancement, special education services and electives are available
  • Reteach and Enrich provided through synchronous instruction daily

6th - 8th Grades

  • Flexible pacing of classes
  • Mastery learning in all classes
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • Enrolled at the Vail Innovation Center
  • Vail teachers
  • Online curriculum modified to match Vail curriculum
  • Elective classes available
  • State testing required
  • Internet connection required
  • District devices available
  • Semester long commitment

High School

  • Enrolled at the Vail Innovation Center
  • Mastery learning in all classes
  • Graded assignments and feedback
  • Flexible pacing of class schedule
  • Vail teachers
  • Online curriculum modified to match Vail curriculum
  • Honors and elective classes available
  • State testing required
  • Semester long commitment
  • Internet connection required
  • District devices available

Remote Learning and Brick to Click Learning Informational Videos

Click HERE to watch video on Remote Learning and Brick to Click in K-8.

Click HERE to watch video on virtual learning through the VIC.

Click HERE to view the high school Remote Learning Plan

We are opening schools with three different choices for parents so families can make the best decisions for their circumstances. One option is On Campus Learning. The following procedures are under consideration to enhance safety for all students and staff while physically at school.

We will continue to make changes to these procedures as circumstances dictate.

Safety Tools

Wellness Checks

  • Daily home health screening – PLEASE DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL SICK.
  • Please run this wellness checklist EVERY day before sending your student to school.
  • Staff will be observing students for signs of illness.


Face Coverings

  • There is a Pima County Resolution requiring face coverings in all settings where social distancing may not be possible. Absent this requirement in the future, it is our intent to do the following: 
    • Create a cultural norm that adults and students will wear face coverings when physical distancing is not possible. 
    • Ask that parents provide a face covering for their student. If a student comes to school without a face covering, one will be provided.
    • Consider individual exemptions on a case by case basis.

Personal Health and Wellness Tips

Hand Washing

  • Sites will be implementing hand washing protocols. Additional hand washing will be expected at all sites. 

Face Touching

  • Schools will provide education and reminders that when one touches an infected surface with his/her hand and then touches eyes, nose, or mouth — which are entryways for viruses into the body — one could potentially become infected and get sick.

Precautionary Measures at the Schools to Enhance Safety

Building Sanitizing and Cleaning

*Sanitizing is a process to remove contaminants including germs and viruses. 

*Cleaning is a process to remove residue including dirt, grime, waste, etc. 

  • Sanitizing and cleaning will be done with frequency at all district sites and expanded to include the following:
    • Sanitizing will occur in high frequency areas in regular intervals throughout the day.
    • Cleaning will occur daily.
    • Site and custodial staff are collaborating regarding site specific needs.

Installation of Hand Sanitizing Stations

  • 1 for classrooms with a sink
  • 3 for classrooms without a sink
  • Additional sanitizing stations will be installed in general use areas and high traffic areas.

Restrooms

  • Sanitize morning, midday, and high usage times.
  • Sanitize before and after lunches.
  • Cleaning will occur daily.

Drinking Fountains

  • Students will be encouraged to bring water bottles.
  • Drinking fountains will be utilized, modified, or closed based on site needs. discretion. If open, they will be sanitized at regular intervals throughout the day.

Ventilation

  • All sites will maximize fresh air capacity of HVAC units in classrooms.

Visitors on Campus

  • Volunteers on campus and in the classroom will be limited with site discretion. Teachers will reach out with opportunities that volunteers can complete at home. 

Physical Distancing & Traffic Flows

  • Following CDC guidelines for schools, physical distancing will be done when feasible.
  • Students will be physically distanced to the greatest extent possible.
  • Six feet of physical distancing in classrooms may not be possible.
  • Sites will institute traffic patterns that maximize physical distancing.

Signs/Education

  • Schools will be putting in additional signage to promote safe practices, and education of these practices will be taking place. Lessons regarding expectations are being planned and will be presented.

Shared Materials

  • Whenever possible, schools will be limiting sharing of supplies. However, when this is not possible, items will be sanitized. 

Playgrounds

  • Playground structures will be utilized, modified, or closed based on site discretion. If open, they will be sanitized at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Playground procedures will be developed to maximize staff and student safety at each site.

Lunch Time

  • Procedures will be developed by each site to maximize staff and student safety during lunch periods.

Current Regulations

In-Person/On-Campus Start Date

Face Coverings

  • There is a Pima County Resolution requiring face coverings in all settings where social distancing may not be possible.

Travel Restrictions

Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice, Travel Advisory

Widespread transmission of COVID-19 is occurring globally.

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health recommend that travelers avoid all nonessential travel abroad, including Mexico.

Mexico Travel Health Guidance:

  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico
  • People of any age are at risk for COVID-19 infection and illness
  • Older adults and people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for severe disease

If you travel to any part of Mexico:

  • You must stay home AND away from work for 14 days after returning from Mexico
  • While at home, wear a cloth face covering if you must go out in public for a medical appointment
  • Monitor your health by doing a daily self health check
  • Stay 6 feet away from other people
  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

Visit CDCs webpage for additional information about travel to Mexico.

The Vail Governing Board voted to change the start date for the 2020/2021 school year to August 10th. Schools will start remotely on that day. On campus learning will currently begin on August 17th. This date is subject to change. VUSD will open in person as soon as the State allows. 

The following calendars have been approved by the Governing Board.

 

PK8 Student Approved Calendar

2021 HS Student Calendar

Transportation will be provided based on conditions at the time. Routes and schedules are subject to change. Masks may be required.

More Information is COMING SOON.

FAQ - Vail Inclusive Preschool 2020/2021 Child Care

Locations:
VIP Mica Mountain
VIP Cienega

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.

Group Sizing

12 students to 2 adults

Sign In/Out Procedure:

  • Adults are asked to wear a face covering during these times.
  • GLoves are provided for families to wear when touching high contact areas.
  • Adults will be asked to remain outside the classroom.

Arrival Procedure for Children:

  • For preschool students, temperature checks will be conducted before entering classrooms while the parent is still present.
  • Any child with a temperature of 100.4 or higher, or displaying any signs of illness, will not be allowed to stay.
  • Children will be asked to wash/sanitize their hands upon arrival and throughout the day.

Meal Time/Snack Time Procedures:

  • Preschool lunch/snacks will be in each classroom.
  • Children will be asked to wash their hands before and after all meals.
  • Staff will use disposable food handling gloves when assisting children.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures:

  • Staff will utilize a procedure checklist each day for opening and closing. 
  • High touch points will be wiped down throughout the day.
  • Tables will be cleaned and disinfected before and after meals and activities throughout the day.
  • Nightly sanitizing will be done by District Custodians.

Hand Washing Procedures:

  • Upon arrival
  • Encouraged often throughout the day
  • Before and after meals/snacks
  • After outdoor activities
  • After bathroom use 

Personal Protective Equipment: 

  • Use of face coverings per CDC are required for staff.
  • Staff will use gloves throughout the day for bathroom assistance, food handling, cleaning, and first aid.

Covid-19 Positive Procedures:

  • We will notify and work with the Arizona Department of Health Services and Pima County Health Department for current recommendations and compliance.

For all other questions contact:

Heather Nordbrock

Director, Vail Inclusive Preschool 

520-879-1755 

nordbrockhl@vailschooldistrict.org

 

Toggle content goes here, click edit button to change this text.

FAQ - Community Programs 2020/2021 Child Care

Community Programs Locations:

  • Acacia 879-2268  
  • Cottonwood 879-2660  
  • Mesquite 879-2184
  • Ocotillo Ridge 879-3660
  • Senita Valley 879-3185
  • Sycamore 879-2579
  • Desert Willow 879-2313
  • Copper Ridge 879-3761
  • Esmond Station 879-3444

Scheduling Options:

  • Sites that offer Preschool: 7:00am-6:00pm
  • Before school and after school programming at all sites.
  • Standard schedule pricing will apply.

Group Sizing:

  • Preschool 12:1

Sign In/Out Procedure:

  • Parents/Visitors will be asked to remain at a designated area.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided for parent/adult use.
  • Please allow additional time during arrival for child well checks.

Arrival Procedure for Children:

  • For preschool and school aged before care classrooms, temperature checks will be conducted before entering classrooms while the parent is still present.
  • Any child with a temperature of 100.4 or higher, or displaying any signs of illness, will not be allowed to stay.
  • Children will be asked to wash/sanitize their hands upon arrival and throughout the day.

Meal Time/Snack Time Procedures:

  • Preschool lunch/snacks will be in each classroom.
  • Children will be asked to wash their hands before and after all meals.
  • Staff will use disposable food handling gloves when assisting children.

Meal Options:

  • Families provide lunch.
  • Families can utilize the District Food Service Program (879-3913) which offers lunch and breakfast options.
  • All snacks are to be provided by families.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures:

  • Staff utilize an opening and closing procedures checklist each day.
  • High touch points will be wiped down throughout the day.
  • Tables will be cleaned and disinfected before and after meals and activities throughout the day.
  • Nightly sanitizing will be done by District Custodians.

Hand Washing Procedures:

  • Upon arrival
  • Encouraged often throughout the day
  • Before and after meals/snacks
  • After outdoor activities
  • After bathroom use 

Personal Protective Equipment: 

  • Use of face coverings per CDC are required for staff and school age children.
  • Staff will use gloves throughout the day for bathroom assistance, food handling, cleaning, and first aid.

Covid-19 Positive Procedures:

  • We will notify and work with the Arizona Department of Health Services and Pima County Health Department for current recommendations and compliance.

For all other questions contact:

Linda Kubiak 

Community Programs Director 

520-879-2032 

kubiakl@vailschooldistrict.org

Senior Exit Project Information

The SEP will remain a graduation requirement, however, there may be modifications to the specific requirements.

ACT and ASVAB Information

ACT:

The ACT for last year’s Juniors has been rescheduled for that cohort. They will have the opportunity to take the ACT as seniors in the Fall.

ASVAB:

is given in November to Junior and Seniors, so the closure did not affect anyone’s ability to take the test as a Junior. Students will also be given the opportunity to take the test again this year as Seniors.

AZ Civics Exam Information

The majority of students took and passed the AZ Civics Exam in 11th grade U.S. History. If a student has not passed it he/she will be given multiple opportunities to take it during his/her senior year.

AP Testing Information

Just as last year, we prepared kids for their AP exams and then followed guidance of the AP  Board regarding what testing looked like. We will continue in this pattern.

Vail Early College Information

Pima Community College is running all classes for the first semester virtually. Vail Early College will open in person on the Mica Mountain High School campus when possible until January.

Parents are asked to complete a health check before sending their child to school each day. If a child appears ill at school, his or her temperature will be taken. The child will be sent home if he or she has a temperature of 100.4 or greater.

In the event of someone at the school testing positive, parents will be notified.

The Vail School District is working with the Pima County Health Department on specific guidelines. More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Click HERE to view the Community Town Hall Video.

Education Options FAQ's

What option is best for my child?

On Campus Learning – This option is best for students who do not have underlying health conditions.

Brick to Click Learning – This option is best for students who plan to return to school by no later than January 2021. Students will stay enrolled in their home school with their assigned teacher(s), but lessons will be taught remotely, and classwork will be done at home. 

Full Time Digital Learning – This option is best for students with long term circumstances preventing them from physically returning to school. Students will be enrolled in the Vail Innovation Center. This option requires at least a semester long commitment. 

Can we do remote learning even if school opens? Yes there are two remote learning options available after schools open on campus – Brick to Click and VIC. 

If we choose Brick to Click Learning, and things still haven’t calmed down in January, and we are still not comfortable sending our students back to school what happens then? – Your student can continue learning through Brick to Click.

What if you change your mind about your child’s educational option as school gets closer to reopening? Can you change your decision? – Yes, you can change your decision before schools open to on campus learning, and even after school campuses open. Brick to Click and On Campus learning can be easily transitioned between.

For Brick to Click, will one teacher potentially be teaching some students in person and some virtual at the same time? No. Lessons will be recorded in K-8 and then virtual office hours will be provided to answer questions and provide additional help. In high school teachers will have in-person periods and virtual periods during the day.

Is Brick to Click identical curriculum as in person? For the most part, yes. Classroom teachers will be providing Brick to Click instruction and will follow identical curriculum calendars. There may be some differences with specials and elective classes. 

If we choose the Vail Innovation Center, does that mean we forfeit our spots in the physical schools? No. Your child’s spot will be saved at the “home school.”

What if my child has an IEP or 504? Special education services or 504 accommodations will still be provided. Because every IEP and 504 plan is unique, case managers and 504 coordinators will reach out to each family individually once school starts to make a plan for services that meet the individual needs of the family.

Since On-Campus school is pushed back, will the school end date also be moved? The Governing Board is currently studying a revised calendar. The draft can be found on the VUSD website.

Can my child do On Campus for a few classes and do other classes online with Brick to Click? That option is not available. Students can attend through Brick to Click or On Campus, but not both at the same time.

Can my child come to school a couple of days a week and do Brick to Click the other days? That option is not available. Students can attend through Brick to Click or On Campus, but not both at the same time.

With Brick to Click can my child return to school at any time? And, if the pandemic gets worse can we go back to online? Yes. Brick to Click and On Campus learning are designed to be able to transition between whenever necessary. 

Is the district providing computers for students who need them? Students are automatically given a laptop in grades 6-12. In K-5 we will work to provide computers to children who do not have one available at home.

How will testing work if the online option is chosen? Formative and Benchmark testing will be done remotely for Brick to Click. The Vail Innovation Center will also do testing remotely.

How much face to face time will there be with teachers?

On Campus Learning – This will be a typical classroom setting. Students will interact with classified and certified staff and other students.

Brick to Click Learning – Students will complete coursework online through Schoology, ZOOM, and other online platforms. K-5 students will complete assignments given by teachers. 6-12 students will be expected to join regular classes virtually – following a regular schedule – on a daily basis. Virtual office hours will be provided for additional help and to answer questions.

Full Time Digital Learning – All learning and coursework is completed online from home.

Will there be mastery teaching and learning? Yes. All options will follow the Arizona State Standards.

Will there be grades? Yes. Grades will be given in all three options.

How will my child make up 4th quarter educational gaps? Teachers will spiral review Q4 concepts throughout the 1st quarter.

Health & Safety FAQ's

What is the procedure if there is COVID -19 positive case in school? We will follow the Pima County Health regulations. As of today, PCH has not released the regulations yet. They will be posted here as soon as they are available

Will you install plexiglass on group tables? In most cases students will be seated at individual desks. In situations where a group table is used, plexiglass will be installed.

How many students will be in each classroom now? The number of students in a classroom will depend on how many families choose On Campus learning. 

If children are required to wear a mask all day, when do they get a break? Breaks will be given throughout the day, and masks will not be required when outside, when eating, or when social distancing is possible. 

What if my child has to be absent more often than usual because of the increased caution that must be observed? Attendance policies will have increased flexibility this year. Students can also attend through Brick to Click if they are home sick or must be quarantined for a period of time.

Will there be policies for students and staff who have traveled out of Arizona before returning to the classroom? The CDC has travel guidelines that we are following. Any travel abroad, including Mexico, requires a 2-week self-isolation period before an employee returns to work or a student returns to school. If this guidance changes, we will comply with the new guidance.

What precautions will be in place on the bus? Students will be spaced out on the bus and may be required to wear a face covering.

Will there be physical distancing if I choose the On-Campus option? Each student desk will be separated. Students who sit at tables will have dividers. Six feet of separation may not be possible in many situations.

Will my child be sharing supplies with other students? In most cases students will have individual supplies in the classroom. Supplies may be shared in some cases and will be cleaned after each use.

Will school events still take place? Large events and performances will be postponed through the 1st quarter of the school year. We may extend this timeline if necessary.

Will my child switch classrooms? Yes. Students will follow their class schedule and change classrooms according to their traditional schedule.

What will lunch periods look like?

Elementary – Students will alternate between eating in a classroom or eating in the MPR. Students will still play on the playground after eating regardless of where they eat.

Middle School – Students will alternate between eating in the MPR or in designated, shaded outside areas. Students will still have time to play and socialize in small groups when they are done eating.

High School – There will be two lunch periods during the day to help reduce crowding. Multiple points of sale for the purchase of lunch will be implemented to reduce lines and potential crowding. Feasible social distancing practices will be encouraged.

What is the policy for visitors and volunteers? Volunteers will be limited on campus and in the classroom. However, your child’s teacher will reach out with opportunities that you can complete at home. Face coverings are required for visitors/volunteers.

Will there be recess for elementary students? Students will still attend grade level recess outside.

John Carruth’s Letters to Parents

July 27, 2020 RE: Please Choose an Educational Option

July 27, 2020

Dear Parents,

We value parent choice in Vail. In order to best meet the needs of each family, the Vail School District is providing multiple educational options this year.

Below you will find the link to choose an educational option for your child(ren). This survey will ask you to choose between two options – Remote Learning through your child’s school and Remote Learning through the Vail Innovation Center (VIC). Both options will begin August 10th.

For families who choose Remote Learning through your child’s school, once schools are able to open campuses, you will be asked to make a second choice – whether your child will attend On Campus or through Brick to Click. Your child will be able to transition between On Campus and Brick to Click at any time during the first semester.

If you choose remote learning through the VIC, your child will remain in this educational setting throughout the first semester.

The survey will remain open until Friday, August 7th at 5:00 p.m. You may change your choice at any time up to this date and time.

Please feel free to email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.com if you have any further questions.

Click HERE to select an educational option for your child(ren).

John Carruth

Superintendent

July 24, 2020 RE: Weekly School Opening Update

July 24, 2020

Dear Vail Families and Staff,

We have wrapped up our virtual town halls this week. It was wonderful to connect with so many families. We miss you and your children and look forward to the time when we can be together again. I was again reminded just how strong our community is. Vail is most certainly a place where education is a community effort. I know that we will get through every challenge we face in the coming months together.

So, what’s the update for this week? 

Yesterday, Governor Ducey held a press conference and issued a new executive order regarding the opening of schools. We are working to unwrap what the order means for the Vail School District and will inform you once we have a clear understanding. This morning a small group of superintendents met with Pima County and Pima County Health Department leaders to determine what metrics should be used to determine when schools can safely re-open, as referenced in the Governor’s order and press conference. 

As we anticipated the executive order would make changes to reopening schools, we have delayed sending out the survey for parents to choose an educational option for their child(ren). Our intent is to open up the survey for parents in the next week after ensuring that our plans are in compliance with the new instruction from the State.

In the meantime, please review the graphic below to see what our options currently look like, and get more details around each educational option on the district website at vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you again for your continued patience and support as we work to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information. Please let us know if you have any further questions at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

John Carruth

July 17, 2020 RE: Weekly School Opening Updates

July 17, 2020

Dear Vail Parents,

Our virtual town halls with parents this week have been going very well. They have given us an opportunity to answer questions, listen to feedback, and connect with Vail families. Because of the high level of interest in attending the virtual town halls, I have added three additional town halls to accommodate the requests we received. 

A common question we have been hearing surrounds the difference between Remote Learning, Brick to Click Learning, and full time virtual learning through the Vail Innovation Center (VIC). 

We have created the following videos to help clarify the differences. The first video shows what Remote Learning and Brick to Click in K-8 will look like and explains the difference between them. A written description for 9-12 is also attached. The second video explains what full time virtual learning through the VIC will look like. 

Click HERE to watch video on Remote Learning and Brick to Click in K-8.

Click HERE to watch video on virtual learning through the VIC.

Many of the other questions we have been hearing are specific to individual schools. In order to help parents find important information we have added site specific information to the Vail School District website. 

To find it please go to vailschooldistrict.org. Click on the purple box. Then click on the SCHOOL DAY tab and the COMMUNICATIONS FROM SCHOOLS tabs.

We know this is not anyone’s ideal start to school. It isn’t ours either. However, as the Vail community continues along the path of reopening schools in these uncertain times, we are committed to continuing to serve parents.

Again, we appreciate your patience and support as we work to re-open schools. Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

John Carruth

High School Remote Learning Plan.pdf 

July 10, 2020 RE: School Opening Updates

July 10, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

I’d like to provide you a quick update regarding our plans for the upcoming school year. 

School Start Date: Vail schools will open remotely on August 10th.

Governor Ducey has delayed the start of in-person school until August 17th. However, schools are able to open remotely prior to that date. The Governor also stated they would, “continuously re-evaluate that date.” If a decrease in COVID-19 rates are not seen, it is possible that the Governor may delay in-person classes beyond August 17th. VUSD will open in-person as soon as the State allows.

School Choices:

Once our campuses are able to open for in-person classes, there will be three options from which parents must choose:

  • On Campus Learning (begins when campuses re-open)
  • Brick to Click Learning (begins when campuses re-open)
  • Full Time Digital Learning through the Vail Innovation Center (begins August 10th)

Because in-person classes are delayed, the On Campus and Brick to Click options will not begin until campuses are allowed to open. It is important to note that remote learning before our campuses open may look different from the Brick to Click option.

For more information regarding these three distinct options and other school opening information, please visit vailschooldistrict.org.

When school begins on August 10th, all Vail students will be taught remotely by their classroom teacher(s). Elementary school students will be provided with instruction and lessons to be completed daily. Middle and high school students will follow their course schedules. 

We know parents have many questions regarding the three educational options and the remote start. We will be hosting a series of Virtual Town Halls over the next two weeks to answer questions that parents have. Please see the dates and times below.

Parents will receive a link the week of July 20th to an online portal where they will be asked to select the option that works best for their child(ren) and family.

School Calendar:

Starting school on August 10th requires that a few adjustments be made to the school calendar for next year. This issue is currently being studied by the Governing Board, but the current plan is to have a two-week fall break for all students from October 12th – 23rd and a one week spring break from March 15th – 19th. A draft of the school calendar is attached to this email. 

I intend to continue sending a weekly email until school begins on August 10th. We are working out the details on issues like Senior Exit Projects and student travel. I hope to have updates on these issues as well as any new developments that may occur over the course of the week. 

Thank you for your continued support.

John Carruth

Superintendent

 

July 3, 2020 RE: Executive Order, AIA Info, Website Info

July 3, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

Earlier this week I sent an email explaining what Governor Ducey’s June 29th Executive Order means for the Vail School District.

During the press conference Governor Ducey reviewed the upward trajectory of COVID-19 in Arizona. “Our numbers continue to increase. They are going in the wrong direction. We are going to take additional actions to contain this virus and get back on track.”- Governor Doug Ducey.

For this reason the Governor ordered that in-person learning cannot begin until August 17, 2020. The Governor also said that Arizona will, “continuously re-evaluate this target date.” So, we want to acknowledge the possibility that the order to delay could be extended.

The executive order allows schools to open remotely prior to August 17th. Last week the Vail Governing Board voted to delay the start of school until August 10th.  In light of the executive order, we are planning for schools to open remotely on August 10th and starting in-person learning on August 17th, or when the order is lifted. Information on what a remote start will look like is currently being developed and will be shared with you as soon as it is available.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), which governs all high school athletics, has also made a decision to delay the start of fall sports. The fall sports season, which was scheduled to begin on August 21st, has been postponed. The AIA Board will be meeting to determine the start date for the fall season. More information about AIA can be found here.

In the meantime please take some time to familiarize yourself with the information in the School Opening section of the VUSD website. School Opening and COVID-19 Information

New information is being added daily. As we receive questions from parents, staff, and students, we are adding the answers to the FAQ section of the website. You can also expect regular email updates from me as the situation evolves between now and the start of the school year.

Please be safe and enjoy the holiday weekend!

John Carruth

June 29, 2020 RE: New Start Date, Governor's Executive Order, New Website

June 29, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

Friday evening the Vail School District Governing Board voted unanimously to postpone the start of the 2020/2021 school year to August 10th for the following reasons:

  • Additional time is needed to plan and execute the work necessary to address three distinct instructional models as well as develop and execute specific plans for health and safety needs at each school site.
  • Arizona and Pima County are currently experiencing record rates of spread of the COVID-19 virus. Additional time will allow for statewide measures, including the Pima County Resolution requiring the use of face coverings, to take effect to help slow the spread.

Today, Monday June 29th, Governor Ducey announced at a press conference that schools will be required to delay the start of in-person classes until August 17th. However, the order allows schools to open remotely through distance learning prior to August 17th.

Over the next few days we will be unwrapping the details in today’s executive order and what they mean for opening schools in Vail. We anticipate being able to communicate our next steps with you by early next week.

In the meantime, please take a moment to review the new section of VUSD’s website. Information regarding educational options, health and safety, and much more can be found at vailschooldistrict.org.

John Carruth

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

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 School 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: Opening School Survey

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 18, 2020 RE: School Closure 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