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.

Mesquite Elementary School

Under the hybrid phase, parents who did NOT choose fully remote instruction through the Vail Innovation Center for the first semester will have two choices for their students:

  1. Hybrid – Partially In-Person/Partially Remote (Modified Schedules)
  2. Brick to Click* – Remote Instruction Connected to Your School

*During the hybrid phase students will not be able to move between Brick to Click and in-person learning unless in the case of illness or the need to quarantine. Further, students who choose Brick to Click will be asked to remain in Brick to Click for the duration of the hybrid phase. 

These two options will look a little different at each level.

Pre-K

Special Note

If you have not received a call from your child’s VIP teacher regarding instruction during the hybrid phase, please call the VIP office.

Elementary

Hybrid

  • 4 days of on campus learning
  • Shortened school day
  • One hour of at home learning each of the 4 days
  • Independent learning on Fridays 

Brick to Click

  • Teacher contact 3 days a week including live lessons for Language Arts and Math on Fridays.
  • Brick to Click is ideal for families who are not yet ready to come back to school on campus or who have the support at home to continue learning remotely. 

Middle School

Hybrid

  • 2 days of on campus learning
  • Shortened in-person school day
  • One hour of at home learning each day
  • Students will follow their class schedule from home on the at-home learning days
  • Friday serving as an independent learning and office hours day.

Brick to Click

  • Students follow their class schedule from home 4 days a week
  • Friday serves as an independent learning and office hours day.

High School

Hybrid

  • 2 days of on campus learning for a full day
  • 3 days of at-home learning

Brick to Click

  • Students will follow the same daily schedule as their peers.
  • Fridays will serve as an independent learning and office hours day for all students.

For detailed hybrid and brick to click plans at specific schools, click the links below.

Educational Options

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

QUICK GUIDE - Procedures for cases of COVID-19

* This is a “Quick Guide.” For more detailed information please see the complete list of procedures under the Procedures for COVID-19 Symptoms or a Positive Test tab at the bottom of this page.

 

School Closures due to COVID-19

The Pima County Health Department defines an “outbreak” as two or more confirmed COVID-19 cases (who do not share a household and have not been in close contact with each other) within a 14-day period.

If an outbreak occurs at a school, The county health department will advise if the school (or the appropriate area of the school) should  be closed, and the following steps will be taken: 

  •       A deep cleaning and sanitizing of the learning space(s) or school, as applicable. 
  •       Transition to remote learning until it is safe to return to campus

 

Positive COVID-19 Test

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the results must be reported to the Vail School District immediately. A medical release may be required before returning to school/work.

You will be contacted by a District employee for a confidential conversation about  people/groups related to the school or program with whom you or your student has been in contact with.

 

Suspected COVID-19

A person who is being evaluated or has symptoms of COVID-19 must:

  •       Stay home 
  •       Report the illness  
  •       Quarantine at home until all of the following are met: 

o   No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications

o   Other symptoms have improved (for example, when the cough or shortness of breath have improved)

o   At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms began 

 

Exposure to COVID-19

If a person lives with someone, or has had close contact with someone (defined as spending 15 minutes or more with that person or direct contact such as a hug or kiss), who has tested positive for COVID-19:

  •       Isolate at home for 14 days

 

Possible Exposure to COVID-19

If a person has had contact with an asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) person who has had contact with a symptomatic person: 

  •       Continue normal school/work activities and closely follow the following recommendations:

o   Daily self-health check for 14 days. 

o   Physical distancing -. Stay 6 feet apart. 

o   Wash hands/use hand sanitizer frequently & don’t touch face. 

o   Cover coughs and sneezes. 

o   Wear a cloth face covering. 

o   Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces. 

  

People at High Risk

If a person has had a severe/critical illness or is severely immunocompromised: 

  •       Stay home and away from school until all of the following are met: 

o   Up to 20 days have passed since symptoms first appear, AND 

o   At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever reducing medication, AND 

o   Other symptoms have improved. 

 

 

 

Safety Tools

Wellness Checks

  • Parents will be requested to go through the following checklist each morning before sending their child to school, self-report symptoms, and keep students at home if any symptoms are present. Students will have the opportunity to make up work or transition to remote learning due to symptoms of COVID-19.
  • 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

Personal Health and Wellness Tips

Hand Washing

Students will be required to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol at the following times:

  • Upon arrival at school (use hand sanitizer if there is no sink in the classroom)
  • After being outside for physical activity
  • Before and after eating
  • Prior to leaving school for home
  • After sneezing, coughing, or blowing nose

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.

Temperature Checks

All students and staff entering campuses upon arrival each day will have their temperatures checked to ensure no fever is present.

Precautionary Measures at Schools and on Buses 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 including but not limited to MPR/Cafetiria tables (before, during, and after meals), desks, tables, chairs, sinks, counters, toilets, stalls, other bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, trashcans, and heavy touch areas.
    • Regular cleaning will occur daily.
    • Site and custodial staff will continue to collaborate regarding site specific needs.

Bus Precautionary Measures

Students and staff will be required to wear cloth face coverings when on a school bus.

A bus driver or aide, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), will visually check each student prior to the student boarding the bus. If a student exhibits visible COVID-like symptoms, the following steps will be taken: 

  •  If the parent is at the bus stop, the student will return to his/her parent. 
  •  If the parent is not at the bus stop, the student will be provided with a mask if he/she does not have one already, and—if possible—will be situated so as to be socially distanced from other people. Immediately upon arrival at school, the student will be escorted to the school isolation area, and the parent will be called to pick up the child.

If a student has a chronic condition such as allergies or asthma, parents should inform staff of that condition. If staff has been so informed, students with symptoms of runny nose or cough should be permitted to ride the bus.

When possible given bus capacity, students will be assigned to bus seats with one student per row and maintain maximum bus ventilation at all times, including open windows (weather permitting). The driver will set the vehicle’s ventilation to non-circulating mode. 

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.

Classrooms

  • Desks will be positioned 6 feet apart unless that spacing is not possible due to the size of the classroom and the number of students assigned to it. 
  •  Desks will be positioned to face the same direction rather than facing each other. At multiple student tables (common in kindergarten classrooms) use partitions or dividers between each student.

Restrooms

  • Students will be permitted to enter restrooms in groups no larger than the number of stalls/urinals in the bathroom, and direct them to maintain physical distancing. Display posters reminding students of proper hand washing techniques.
  • Sanitized and cleaned every two hours.
  • Sanitize before and after lunches.

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.

Playgrounds

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

Front Offices

  • All visitors to campuses are required to wear a face covering.
  • At most sites a divider will be installed in front of the front desk. When not feasible, adhesive tape will be used on the floor 6 feet from the front desk.
  • Signage directing visitors not to come closer than the tape markings will be posted. 

Ventilation

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

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.

Lunch Time

When possible schools will serve lunches in classrooms and on disposable food service items. Students will be prohibited from sharing lunch items with one another.

At some sites multipurpose rooms may be used during lunch, with increased safety measures, including the following:

  • If students line up for lunch service, permit only one class to line up at a time, and place markings on the floor to indicate where students should stand to maintain social distancing.
  • Provide a minimum of 3 feet between marked seats.
  • Limit multipurpose room seating to the number of assigned seats. 
  • Serve lunches on disposable food service items (trays, plates, etc.).
  • Prohibit students from sharing lunch items with one another.

Physical Distancing, Traffic Flows, and Hallways

  • Staff members will educate and remind students regularly to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between individuals at all times possible. 
  • Where possible, students will remain with the same groupings and the same staff throughout the day. When possible, schedules are designed to allow the same groupings of students to move from subject to subject as much as possible.
  • 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. Where possible given the school layout, certain hallways may be designated one-way.

Student Drop Off/Pick Up

  • Parents will be required to drop off/pick up students without getting out of the car, unless permission from a site administrator is provided for good cause. Parents will be required to wear a face covering when on campus.  

Student Belongings and Materials

  • For younger grades and where possible, require that student belongings be kept in individual bins or cubbies labeled with each student’s name.
  • Whenever possible, schools will be limiting sharing of supplies. However, when this is not possible, items will be sanitized. 

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. 

Trips and Activities

  • Field trips will be cancelled until further notice. Teachers will use virtual learning opportunities (such as virtual tours of museums) to enhance students’ educational experiences.
  • Large events and performances will be postponed through the 1st quarter of the school year. This timeline will be extended if necessary. As an alternative (if feasible), hold school-wide assemblies virtually, with student groups remaining in their classrooms.
  • Large-scale school events such as “Back to School Night” or Fall carnivals will be cancelled, held remotely, or reconfigured in order to maintain social distancing. 

Specialized Classes

  • Some classes, such as science labs, choir, band, PE, and others, may require alternative lesson plans to limit contact and the sharing of supplies, and to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets. 

Procedures for COVID-19 Symptoms or a Positive Test

COVID-19 HEALTH AND WELLNESS GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS

Revised October 30, 2020

 

These are based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Arizona Department of Health, and the Pima County Health Department (PCHD).

 

These guidelines were written to align with the District’s ACT Statement and to comply with CDC and PCHD guidelines. These guidelines are reviewed on a continual basis and may be updated as the COVID-19 situation changes. Please speak with your school administrator if there are any questions or concerns.

 

COVID-19 Daily Self-Health Check

Parents/guardians are asked to review the following self-health questions for students and any household members before the student leaves home for school or to attend any school event:

• Have you or has anyone in the household been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days?

• Have you or has anyone in the household had a fever (100 or higher) in the last 72 hours?

• Are you or is anyone in the household experiencing any new or unexplained respiratory symptoms including a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or runny nose?

• Are you or is anyone in the household experiencing any new or unexplained muscle aches, headache, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, or diarrhea?

• Have you or has anyone in the household experienced any new or unexplained change in your sense of taste or smell?

If the student or any person in the household answers “yes” to any of the COVID-19 self-health check questions, the student must stay home and away from school.

 

COVID-19 Symptoms

Students must stay home if they OR anyone in the household OR anyone they have been in close contact with has any of the following symptoms AND the symptoms are new or unexplained. For students, please notify the school office to excuse the absence and report the symptom(s). These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period).

• Fever of 100 degrees or higher or chills

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Fatigue

• Muscle or body aches

• Headache

• New loss of taste or smell

• Sore throat

• Congestion or runny nose

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea

If the student becomes ill during school, he/she will be made comfortable in an isolation room until the parent/guardian is able to pick up the child.

 

Health Screening Upon Arrival

Until further notice, health screenings in the form of a temperature check and visual observation will be conducted upon arrival each school day for students and staff. A staff member will visually check each student for symptoms upon entering the school bus and/or school property.

Any student with visible symptoms of runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, or vomiting will be returned to the parent if the parent is present or taken directly to the school health office or isolation area. Parents will be contacted for pickup with the following exceptions:

• If the student has a runny nose with/without sneezing and with/without an intermittent cough or watery eyes, and the health aide observes that there are no other symptoms, the health aide will contact the parent to inquire as to whether the student has had any other symptoms or there have been any COVID-19 exposures in the home. If not, the student may return to class.

• If the student has health information on file that confirms a diagnosis of asthma or other respiratory condition, and the health aide observes that there are no other symptoms, the health aide will contact the parent to inquire as to whether the student has had any other symptoms or there have been any COVID-19 exposures in the home. If not, the student may return to class.

 

Face Coverings (Masks)

Safety is our highest priority. In order to protect the safety of all, and to comply with Executive Order 2020-51, all students, staff, and visitors (excludes children under the age of two) are required to use a face covering while on District property or at a school function, using District provided-transportation, and at school bus stops unless an approved exception is granted. Face coverings are required for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Students will wear a face covering unless one of the following exceptions apply:

• The student has trouble breathing

• The student is actively eating or drinking

• The student can physically distance as determined by a District staff member

• The student is outside on the playground or fields with physical distancing

• The student has been specifically permitted to remove the face covering on a case-by-case basis for specific instructional, medical, or other reasons as determined by an authorized staff member.

Face coverings must fully cover the mouth and nose and fit snugly against the sides of the face with no gaps but allow for breathing without restriction.

Students will be allowed breaks to remove their face covering throughout the day when physical distancing can be maintained.

Students, staff, and visitors who fail to or refuse to comply with the District’s face mask procedures may be directed to leave the premises. The District may take any other action deemed appropriate, including disciplinary measures or sanctions against staff or students, consistent with District policies.

To accommodate staff, students, parents, and visitors who are unable to use a face covering for a disability-related reason, the District has offered and continues to offer opportunities to participate in virtual meetings and/or other reasonable accommodations.

Please refer to the District’s face covering policy for details and possible exemptions.

 

Protections for Populations at Risk

The CDC and PCHD have identified categories of vulnerable populations who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Parents/guardians of students with specific pre-existing health conditions matching the PCHD “at risk” criteria are asked to speak to the school administration so that discussions can be initiated about remote or alternative learning environments where feasible.

Those in the vulnerable population who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 includes people who are:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Diagnosed with any of the following:
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Serious heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

 

Confidentiality and Privacy

While there are public health exceptions to the privacy rules under both the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and, to the extent applicable, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as Amended (ADAAA), the confidentiality requirements under Policy GBGCB, Policy JHCC, and Regulation JHCC-R shall apply.

A student’s personal health information will not be released to others unless there is a school-need to know (health aide, teacher, school attendance clerk, etc.) OR to make a report of any confirmed positive COVID-19 test result to the Pima County Health Department, as required.

 

Reporting a Positive COVID-19 Test Result or Confirmed Case

The parent/guardian will communicate a need for the student to be absent due to illness and must also communicate any COVID-19 test results to the school. The District will comply with requirements to report a confirmed case to the Pima County Health Department and will notify staff and families as applicable.

The school health aid or school point of contact may reassess a student who is excluded from school because of a COVID-19 diagnosis before the student may return to school. The District may require a physician’s written medical release as a condition for the student’s return to school.

 

Cleaning Procedures

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 at regular intervals throughout the day (sanitizing removes contaminants including germs and viruses).

• Cleaning will take place daily (cleaning removes dirt, grime, waste).

• Site and custodial staff are collaborating regarding site/department specific needs.

If there is a probable COVID-19 exposure or confirmed COVID-19 case, access to the classroom or workspace will be restricted for a minimum of 24 hours and then deep cleaned and sanitized.

Protocol for School or Building Closures

The District will consult with and follow guidance from the PCHD. An outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff within a 14-day period who are epidemiologically linked, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing. If a school or department is partially or fully closed due to an outbreak, the following additional steps will also take place:

• A deep cleaning of the learning space(s) or school, as applicable.

• Transition to remote learning for continuity of education.

• Make appropriate notifications to employees and families through School

 

COVID-19 Action Plans and Return to School Timeline

1. If the student or a household member or someone they have had close contact with HAS COVID-19, is BEING EVALUATED for COVID-19, or has SYMPTOMS consistent with COVID-19, the student, siblings who attend a District school or childcare program, and any district employee in the household must:

• Not go to school/work; stay home.

• Report the absence, per the school’s absence procedures (Employees should notify a supervisor).

• Monitor symptoms and seek medical care if the illness becomes worse.

• Isolate at home until:

• No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medications to reduce a fever, AND

• Other symptoms have improved (for example, when the cough or shortness of breath have improved), AND

• At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms began.

2. If the student or a household member develops symptoms of COVID-19, including early or mild symptoms, and TESTED NEGATIVE, the student, siblings who attend a District school or childcare program, and any district employee in the household must stay home and away from others until:

• No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers, AND

• Other symptoms have improved (for example, when the cough or shortness of breath have improved).

3. If the student or a household member develops symptoms of COVID-19, including early or mild symptoms and DOES NOT WANT TO BE TESTED, the student, siblings who attend a District school or childcare program, and any district employee in the household must stay home and away from others until:

• No fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medications to reduce a fever, AND

• Other symptoms have improved (for example, when the cough or shortness of breath have improved), AND

• At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms began.

• When the student returns to school, the student or parent/guardian must self-check the student daily for 14 additional days.

4. If the student TESTS POSITIVE or LIVES WITH SOMEONE or has HAD CLOSE CONTACT with someone who has TESTED POSITIVE for COVID-19, the student, siblings who attend a District school or childcare program, and any district employee in the household must:

• Stay home for 14 days after the first date the sick person begins to show symptoms except to get essential medical care.

• If another household member gets sick, the quarantine period must restart for another 14 days (Example: employee is sick, household quarantines for 14 days. On the 8th day of this quarantine, spouse gets sick, household quarantine restarts for another 14 days from the 1st day of spouse’s symptoms. On the 5th day of spouse’s quarantine, child gets sick, household quarantine restarts for another 14 days from 1st day of child’s symptoms.)

• Try to have only people in the home who are essential to providing care for the person – other household members should stay in another home or hotel. If this is not possible, other household members should stay in another room and be separated from the person as much as possible.

• Regularly clean and disinfect all “high touch” surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, etc.

• Avoid sharing household items like dishes, cups, eating utensils, and bedding.

5. If the student has had contact with an asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) person who has had contact with a symptomatic person, the student will:

• Continue normal school/daily activities while following general recommendations of:

o Daily self-heath check for 14 days.

o Physical distancing. Stay 6 feet apart.

o Wash hands/use hand sanitizer frequently & don’t touch face.

o Cover coughs and sneezes.

o Wear a cloth face covering.

o Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.

6. If the student has had a severe/critical illness or is severely immunocompromised, please:

• Stay home and away from school until:

o Up to 20 days have passed since symptoms first appear, AND

o At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever reducing medication, AND

o Other symptoms have improved.

If the student or other household member develops emergency warning signs for COVID-19, seek immediate medical attention.

Emergency warning signs include*:

• Difficulty getting enough air to breathe

• Chest pain

• Change in alertness or responsiveness

• Bluish lips or face

• Rapid breathing

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Definitions

• Close contact –  being within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes OR has had direct contact with the infected person starting from 48 hours before illness onset through the 14th day from the last contact with the infected person.

• Counting calendar days – the count begins on the 1st day after the date symptoms start or date of last exposure and continues through the last calendar day. The student may return to school on the next school day.

• Fever free – absence of a fever of 100 or higher for the most recent 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication like aspirin or Tylenol.

• Infectious period (incubation period) – the period of time a person can infect others with COVID-19. This period is from two days BEFORE symptom onset through the 14th day from the last contact with the infected person.

• Self check for symptoms – follow the “Daily Health Screening Checklist.”

Perform the self-check each morning BEFORE leaving for school.

• Stay home and away from school – do not go to school and stay home. Contact the school attendance clerk from home. Do not return to school for any reason until notified by the school that you may do so.

Current Regulations and State Approved Plans

Hybrid/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:

  • In an update August 25, 2020, the CDC removed the 14-day quarantine period for U.S. citizens returning from Mexico.
  • Mexico remains at a Level 3 – High Risk travel warning. The CDC recommends that traveler’s avoid all nonessential international travel to Mexico; however, travel to Mexico is not prohibited.
  • The updated “COVID-19 in Mexico” Traveler’s Health advisory is provided below.
  • The CDC website at www.cdc.gov has more information on international travel.
  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico

Athletics

The Vail School District continues to work closely with the Pima County Health Department, the Arizona Interscholastic Association, and other school districts across Pima County to determine the safest course of action for athletic competition. All fall sports are currently practicing and competing with agreed upon and monitored mitigation plans in place. Please check with your student’s high school if you have related questions to fall sports or winter sports which will begin in early November.

Enhanced mitigation strategies for high contact sports (including football and wrestling) will include the following:

  1. Athletes participating in the program will be “bubbled” or grouped together and will be 100% remote learners while participating.
  2. We are working on a process to regularly COVID test participating players and coaches.
  3. All families participating will need to complete a waiver in order to be a part of the program.

ADE Approved Distance Learning Plan

ADE Approved Mitigation Plan

School began remotely on August 10, 2020. At the Board Meeting on August 11, the Board voted to follow the Pima County Health benchmarks to determine when in-person learning can begin. The earliest possible date for hybrid or in-person learning will likely be between September 14th and October 5th, 2020.

 

PK8 Student Approved Calendar

Dear Parents/Guardians:

The Transportation Department drives thousands of miles each day to transport thousands of students to and from school safely and efficiently. This is our single most-important goal. As we prepare for the new school year, it is important to familiarize yourself with your student’s route information.

Transportation routes have changed significantly, therefore, please check your student’s bus stop information carefully, following the directions below. This is especially important for high school students as we have added “hubs” to current routing schedules which are designed to allow for more direct routes to school thereby minimizing ridership times and increasing our efficiency. This also provides a foundation for transportation zones that will take effect in the 2021/2022 school year.

All students who are eligible for transportation are assigned to a bus route. Excluding special needs students, all students are assigned to a single bus route based on their home address.

Route information is available  http://www.infofinderi.com/tfi/

To find your bus stop, type in your street address, school of attendance, grade, and zip code. Then click the “my bus stops” button. The published information will give you bus route numbers and pick up and drop off times for full day and half day schedules.

We appreciate your support as well as the fundamental role you have in helping Transportation staff ensure the safety of all our students.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the following staff:

Mary St. John 879-2056 stjohnm@vailschooldistrict.org

Leslie Incontrera 879-2479 incontreral@vailschooldistrict.org

Respectfully,
Jerry Brown
Director of Transportation – 520-879-2454

 

FAQ’s for Hybrid Learning Transportation

Will my student be required to wear a mask on the bus?

All students and adults on buses will be required to wear a face covering. In the event a student does not have one, a face covering will be provided.

What do I do if my student is unable to wear a face covering due to a health condition?

There are exceptions to the face covering requirement for individuals who have a medical or behavioral condition or disability and cannot wear a face covering (including, but not limited to, any person who has trouble breathing, is unconscious or incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to put on or remove the face covering without assistance). In such instances, students may choose a remote learning option. 

Will the bus drivers be wearing face coverings/gloves?

All bus staff will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), which may include a clear face shield in addition to a face covering, gloves, and/or apron.

Will there be hand sanitizer on the bus?

Yes, there will be hand sanitizer dispensers available on each school bus, and students boarding the bus will be encouraged to use sanitizer.

What cleaning/sanitizing procedures are in place to make sure students are safe?

Bus driving staff will be cleaning and sanitizing their buses at least twice a day which will include wiping down high touch areas, spraying the entire bus with a sanitizer, sweeping bus floors, and emptying the garbage. 

Will there be social distancing on the bus?

To the extent possible, social distancing on a bus will be practiced with one student per seat and two per row. When this is not possible, there will be no more than two students in a seat with the center area left vacant. Siblings or members of the same household may be permitted to share the same seat.

Will students’ temperatures be taken on the bus?

Student temperatures will not be taken on the bus, however, this may be subject to change. Bus drivers will visually check each student for visible symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or vomiting.

Will there be social distancing at the bus stop?

Students waiting for buses should remain inside parents’ vehicles at the stop until the school bus arrives. Parents should instruct their students to physically separate themselves and remain six feet apart unless they are siblings who live together. Students are required to wear face coverings at the bus stop. There will be no adult supervision at bus stops.

What are the procedures for students boarding the bus?

Students will board the bus in a slow, orderly fashion remaining six feet apart. The driver will signal to the student when it is safe to board the bus. The bus will be loaded back to front. This means students will board and then take a seat as far back as possible. Each student will have his/her own seat. The only exception to this rule will be siblings who live together; they will be allowed to share a seat. 

What do I do if my student is sick?

Parents should follow a home health screening checklist each morning before sending their child to school, report symptoms to the school, and keep students at home if any symptoms are present. 

What is the procedure if a student riding the bus develops COVID-19 symptoms?

That student will be separated from other students and staff on the bus, as much as possible, and will be taken to the school where a staff member wearing PPE will escort the student from the bus zone to an isolation room on the campus. A parent or emergency contact will be immediately notified to pick up the student. 911 will be called if the student appears to be in medical distress. The bus that transported that sick student will be removed from service for 24 hours to be cleaned and disinfected.  

If my student gets a temperature at school, will he/she be able to ride the bus home?

If a student develops COVID-19 symptoms at school, the student will be separated from all other students and staff, with the exception of one staff member to supervise the student. A parent or emergency contact will be immediately notified to pick up the student.

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.

The data contained in the following links is being used by VUSD to determine what phase of learning we are in.

Arizona Department of Health Reopening Benchmarks 

Pima County Progress Report

 

John Carruth’s Letters to Parents

November 25, 2020 RE: Update from the Superintendent

November 25, 2020

Dear Parents,

I would like to provide you with an update on where we are with regard to keeping our schools open for hybrid learning. 

Through all the changes during the pandemic, one constant continues to guide our decisions. We must continue to rely on public health benchmarks and guidance from Pima County Health experts to provide the safest learning environment for students and staff. 

Yesterday, we met with Dr. Garcia, the Chief Medical Officer of Pima County Health Department (PCHD). Now that schools across the county have been in hybrid learning for the past two months, they are seeing very low rates of spread (less than 5%) within school environments. Dr. Garcia stated that while cases of COVID-19 are rising in our community, it is largely being driven by small social gatherings. For these reasons, he continues to support hybrid learning as the preferred environment for schools to use at this time.

The health metrics from Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) also continue to support hybrid learning at this time. The PCHD and ADHS health benchmarks can be found HERE.

In Vail, we are also seeing very low rates of virus transmission within our schools. Mitigation strategies including wearing face coverings, health checks, frequent hand washing, and social distancing are working. When someone (staff or student) is exposed to someone who is sick, we are using quarantines to prevent spread and protect others.

You can continue to help us keep our doors open by exercising caution in regards to COVID-19.

The conditions of this pandemic remain fluid. We are watching closely and will make adjustments when conditions and public health advice warrant a change. We will also give you advanced notice so that you can prepare. 

If you have any questions, please email us at newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org.

The Thanksgiving holiday always gives us a reason to pause and reflect on the things for which we are most grateful. I am very grateful for your partnership during this most unusual year. 

All I can say is thank you. Thank you to the Vail parents, teachers, staff, students, and community for the endless support, words of encouragement, and volunteer hours you continue to render on behalf of Vail’s students.

Please have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. 

John Carruth

Superintendent

October 9, 2020 RE: Fall Break & Next Steps

October 9, 2020

Dear Parents,

I want to personally thank you for your trust and partnership over the past seven months as we navigated one of the most challenging times in the history of our school district. 

During Spring Break 2020, I sent the first letter to you letting you know that we were preparing for the storm of COVID-19. 

Seven months later we stand on the cusp of Fall Break 2020. The world looks vastly different, yet our shared values have bound us together as we weathered this storm. We have leaned heavily into our motto, “Where Education is a Community Effort”. I am grateful for your partnership as we worked to provide an education and a sense of normal to your children and family during the most unusual of times. 

While the COVID-19 virus will play a role in shaping the conditions of what learning looks like over the next several months, I anticipate the most drastic changes are behind us now. We have created solid frameworks for remote and hybrid learning. And, when the conditions are such that it is reasonably safe to do so, we know how to do in-person instruction better than any school district in the state. 

After fall break, we will continue with hybrid and brick to click instruction. We will also continue to work closely with both the Arizona Department of Health and Pima County Health Department to determine when it is reasonably safe and stable enough to move into full in-person learning. 

It will be pretty quiet around the Vail School District over the next two weeks. I am encouraging our staff to unplug and get some much needed rest. If you have specific questions, please contact your student’s respective school, or you can always ask at: newschoolyear@vailschooldisrict.org.  

I hope you enjoy time with your children over the break, too. Please be safe and be well. 

Kind regards,

John Carruth – Superintendent

September 19, 2020 RE: Ready for Monday

September 19, 2020

Dear Parents,

We are excited to welcome Vail students back to our campuses on Monday. Although the hybrid model of instruction is new to us, we have worked hard to plan and expect Monday to be a great day.

Our parent survey results ended with 76% choosing hybrid instruction and 24% selecting Brick to Click. For parents who have chosen the hybrid option, it is likely the first time their children will be back on a school campus since early March. As such, we’d like to call attention to a few important details.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MONDAY

Coming to school feeling well (and staying home when not feeling well) along with wearing a face covering are the two most powerful tools we have in keeping our students and staff safe and our campuses open during the pandemic.

Wellness checks and face coverings:

  • Please make sure that your student is feeling well before sending him/her to school. A list of symptoms to be mindful of can be found here
  • Please have a child care plan in mind. Both students and staff will be required to leave campus when they are not feeling well and stay home until the symptoms resolve. 
  • Please make sure to send your student with a proper face covering. We will provide one if a student forgets to bring one or if you need any assistance with purchasing one. 

What happens if my student is sick?

We’ve created an overview video of what happens when someone is sick. You can view it here. If you’d like more details, you can view them here.

Changes for food service – Free breakfast and lunch!

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the US Department of Education has authorized the continuation of free meals for school age children. Please click here for more details. 

All of the information contained in this email is also posted on our district website at: www.vailschooldistrict.org 

If you have any additional questions, please contact your student’s school or reach out to us at: newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you for your continued trust in the Vail School District. Deputy Superintendent Debbie Penn was asked by a reporter if we were ready for hybrid learning. She explained, “we have worked very hard to prepare, and although it is new to all of us, our hearts are ready!” Thank you for your continued patience and partnership as we open the doors and iron out wrinkles along the way.

John Carruth

Superintendent

September 4, 2020 RE: Hybrid Instruction Information and Parent Survey

September 4, 2020

Dear Parents,

Last week we were excited to announce that the health metrics surrounding COVID-19 in Pima County are improving. Assuming the metrics continue to improve, we are still targeting September 21st as the date when we will move to the next phase of opening schools – the hybrid phase. 

The purpose of the hybrid phase is to welcome students on campus, but physically distanced as much as possible and/or keep them in the same groups throughout the day. This is made possible by the reassigning and restructuring of classes and teachers.

Under the hybrid phase, parents who did NOT choose the Vail Innovation Center for the first semester will have two choices for their students:

  1. Hybrid – Partially In-Person/Partially Remote (with modified schedules)
  2. Brick to Click* – Remote Instruction Connected to Your School

These two options will look a little different at each level.

Vail Inclusive Preschool: See note below**

Elementary:

  • Hybrid: 4 days of on campus learning, a shortened school day, one hour of at-home learning each of the 4 days, and independent learning on Fridays
  • Brick to Click: teacher contact 3 days a week, including live lessons for Language Arts and Math on Fridays. Brick to Click is ideal for families who are not yet ready to come back to school on campus or who have the support at home to continue learning remotely. 

Middle School:

  • Hybrid: 2 days of on campus learning, a shortened in-person school day, and one hour of at home learning each day. Students will follow their class schedule from home on the at-home learning days with Friday serving as an independent learning and office hours day. 
  • Brick to Click: students will follow their class schedule from home 4 days a week with Friday serving as an independent learning and office hours day.

High School:

  • Hybrid: 2 days of on campus learning for a full day with 3 days of at-home learning. 
  • Brick to Click: students will follow the same daily schedule as their peers. Fridays will serve as an independent learning and office hours day for all students.

Smaller schools of choice like Civano, Esmond Station, Pantano, VAHS, and Vail Blended may have different scenarios. 

We will make every effort to keep students in the same family on the same schedule.

You will be receiving further communication about the specifics of each option from your students’ principals on Wednesday, September 9th. If you are ready to make your choice for the hybrid learning phase now, please feel free to do so here

You will be able to make and/or change your selection through Sunday, September 13th when the survey closes. Please also visit School Opening – Hybrid Learning Information on our District website for more information.

If you have further questions, please feel free to contact us at: newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Again, thank you for your patience and support as we work to develop sustainable plans for each phase of learning. We are grateful for our community.

John Carruth

Superintendent

*During the hybrid phase students will not be able to move between Brick to Click and in-person learning unless in the case of illness or the need to quarantine. Further, students who choose Brick to Click will be asked to remain in Brick to Click for the duration of the hybrid phase. 

**This survey does not apply to students at Vail Inclusive Preschool. If you have not received a call from your child’s VIP teacher, please call the VIP office.

August 28, 2020 RE: Next Phase of Opening

August 28, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

Two weeks ago, we wrote to let you know that the Vail School District would be using the recently established public health metrics as a guide for when our schools would transition between the three phases of delivering instruction during the pandemic. Those phases, as outlined by the Arizona Department of Health, are: Remote instruction, hybrid instruction, and in-person instruction.

We also communicated that it was likely that Vail schools would be able to move to the next phase of instruction sometime between September 14th and October 5th. 

The good news is that the conditions are improving. The metrics indicate steady progress in the reduction of the spread of COVID-19 in Pima County. 

As such, we are targeting September 21st as the date for when we will move to the next phase of opening schools. Like most things during this pandemic, this assumes that conditions continue to improve and do not get worse. 

The next phase will allow for hybrid instruction during a time of moderate risk. The hybrid phase involves another shift in the way instruction is delivered, staff are utilized, and campuses operate. The purpose of the hybrid phase is to keep students physically distanced as much as possible and/or keep them in the same groups throughout the day. 

Plans are being developed for what the hybrid phase will look like at the preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school levels. We will communicate the details of these plans to you by Friday of next week. 

Remote instruction will continue to be a choice for students during the hybrid phase. Brick to Click* will be available through each school, and the Vail Innovation Center will continue to provide full-time remote learning to students who have chosen this option. 

Please send any questions you may have to: newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you for your continued patience and support as we work to get students back to school safely.

John Carruth

*During the hybrid phase students will not be able to move between Brick to Click and in-person learning unless in the case of illness or the need to quarantine. Further, students who choose Brick to Click will be asked to remain in Brick to Click during the hybrid phase. 

August 13, 2020 RE: Reopening Explained

August 13, 2020

Dear Parents,

Remote learning will continue to be in place on Monday, August 17th.

Tuesday evening the Vail School District Governing Board voted to utilize public health benchmarks developed by the Arizona Department of Health (ADHS) and Pima County Department of Health to guide the district’s decision on when to safely return to in-person instruction.

One key component to reopening school buildings for in-person instruction is tracking the level of COVID-19 spread within a community. The ADHS benchmarks track this across three metrics which are updated every Thursday. You can follow these benchmarks by clicking here.

Currently, the benchmarks have not been met. Utilizing the ADHS benchmarks and in consultation with Pima County Health officials, it is estimated that it will take an additional five to seven weeks before the criteria for opening schools are met. The Vail School District is targeting a transition from remote learning to occur sometime between September 14th and October 5th. We will continue to utilize these public health benchmarks to refine the exact date.

We intend to provide parents with at least a two week notice for when the transition will occur.

We are committed to opening schools as soon as it is reasonably safe to do so. We share the belief of many parents that having students in school is best for children and their families.

Please click on the video for additional information.

John Carruth

Superintendent

August 9, 2020 RE: New School Year Update

August 9, 2020

Dear Parents,

There is nothing more exciting or anticipated than the first day of school. Possibility, growth, friendship, and hope are all on the horizon as the journey of a new school year begins. For all of us, that journey will start a little differently Monday via remote instruction. 

If there has been one constant since schools were closed by executive order this past March it has been frequent change. The past five months have taught us that adaptation, perseverance, sacrifice, and grace are necessary pursuits to navigate the ever changing dynamics of life in a pandemic. 

This past Thursday brought more change. Under the direction of an executive order by Governor Ducey, the Arizona Department of Health (ADHS) released public health benchmarks that are intended to guide the safe return to in-person instruction. ADHS has created an online dashboard explaining these benchmarks and tracking progress toward meeting them. It can be viewed HERE.

The good news is that the benchmarks are trending in the right direction. The bad news is that they are currently above what will be required to open schools for in-person instruction on August 17th.

Further, Pima County issued a statement to school districts on July 28th, that included recommendations from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francisco Garcia and Public Health Director Dr. Teresa Cullen. In short, the guidance stated that the earliest in-person instruction could safely be anticipated to resume would be after Labor Day, September 7th

I will recommend to the Vail Governing Board that our district follow the public health data provided by ADHS and Pima County Health in determining when it is reasonably safe to resume in-person instruction. 

Following these data points will likely mean that in-person instruction won’t be an option through at least Labor Day.

The Vail Governing Board will be meeting on Tuesday, August 11th at 7 p.m. to review the ADHS benchmarks and the Pima County Health data. They will also review adjustments to instructional options that may need to be put in place in order to reopen schools.

We recognize that COVID-19 is creating challenges beyond just the physical safe return to school. The social, emotional, and academic well-being of our children is of utmost importance to all of us. As we plan to open schools as soon as possible, we are also dedicated to connecting with your children, welcoming them back to learning, and providing them with the best learning experience possible starting Monday, August 10th.

As we start this school year, we will likely make some mistakes along the way. Operating in a pandemic is historic and unfamiliar for all of us. When we fall, we will do so with every intent of falling forward in the pursuit of creating high quality, safe learning environments for your children. We will get up together. We will adapt. We will persevere. We will sacrifice. And, we will offer grace. Perhaps these are the most important lessons presented to all of us this year. 

I wish everyone a safe and blessed school year. 

John Carruth

Superintendent

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