School Opening and COVID-19 Information


School Opening and COVID-19 Information

This page is where you can learn all of the COVID-19 information for the Vail School District

How does the dashboard work?

  • If a person who reports a lab-confirmed positive was on campus during his/her contagious period, as defined by health officials, the school principal will notify the staff and families of the positive case. The case is added to the dashboard and reported to the Pima County Health Department.
  • If a person who tests positive was not on campus during his/her contagious period, the principal does not send out a notice. The positive case is still added to the dashboard and reported to the Pima County Health Department.

When are cases removed from the dashboard?

  • Individuals who test positive are excluded from participation in any in-person/on-campus activity until the District’s COVID support team clears the individual to return to work or school. The return to work/school criteria is set by state and local health authorities.
  • Once a person is cleared to return, he/she is no longer considered an active case, and his/her case is removed from the dashboard.

What does "Staff Isolating or in Quarantine" mean?

  • Staff who are COVID positive or who are showing COVID-like symptoms must isolate away from work for a period of time.
  • Staff who have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID positive person must quarantine away from work for a period of time.
  • This column is the number of staff who are not able to be on campus because they must isolate or quarantine.

Can you include more information about the positive cases?

  • State and federal laws protect staff and student privacy. The District will not share names or identifying information about individuals, except to the Pima County Health Department, as required.

Active Cases Posted Monday 9/20/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 9/13/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 9/6/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 8/30/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 8/23/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 8/16/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 8/9/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 8/2/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 7/26/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 5/24/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 5/17/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 5/10/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 5/3/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 4/26/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 4/19/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 4/12/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 4/5/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 3/29/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 3/22/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 3/15/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 3/8/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 3/1/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 2/22/2021

As of 2/21/21

Active Cases Posted Monday 2/15/2021

As of 2/14/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 2/8/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 2/1/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 1/25/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 1/18/2021

Active Cases Posted Monday 1/11/2021

Free COVID-19 Testing

Vail School District is offering free COVID-19 rapid antigen testing to VUSD Staff, students, and their families.

  • VUSD is an authorized COVID testing provider approved by the CDC.
  • We use the BinaxNOW COVID-19 rapid antigen test, which uses a short nasal swab.
  • The Pima County Health Department suggests testing on or after day 5 if you have been identified as a close contact of a COVID positive person.
  • If you or a family member have flu-like or COVID-like symptoms, it is recommended you test right away, even if fully vaccinated.
  • No age restrictions on testing–any age welcome!
  • Results are returned in 15 minutes via text message or phone call.

– Scheduling an appointment:

      • The appointment registration system is the same system used by schools for scheduling parent-teacher conferences.
      • The first two fields ask for “student” first and last name. Please enter the name of the person who will be testing in this field. If you need to test multiple people (i.e. tests done as a family), please schedule a separate appointment for each person—these can be in the same time slot.

    Schedule Your Appointment Today!

 

  • Fill out a consent form* here or scan the QR code

 

*Must be completed prior to testing

– What do I do when I arrive at my appointment?

  • Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.
  • Upon arrival, follow the signs near the front office to the testing location on campus.
  • Please do NOT enter the front office, if you are in need of assistance, contact COVID support or contact the school office via phone.
  • Please wear a mask from the time you exit your vehicle until the time you leave your appointment. Only bring the mask down below your nose when instructed to for the test.
  • Once you have been tested, please immediately leave the facility. The results will be given to you over text or phone call.

– What happens if I (or a member of my household) tests positive?

  • A positive test result indicates that an active COVID-19 infection has been detected.
  • If the result is positive, please refer to the VUSD School Opening and COVID-19 Information page.
  • If the result is negative AND there are no symptoms present, please refer to the Pima County Health Department “Close Contact” letter you received by email for your return to school date or contact the Vail School District COVID Support Team for assistance.
  • If the test results are negative, please continue to stay home and away from school until symptoms improve.  If symptoms do not improve within a few days consider retesting or contacting your medical care provider.

– Testing Days and Locations:

– Consent Forms:

  • Please complete the online consent form prior to your arrival—preferably at least a day before your appointment or you may utilize the QR Code to acces the consent form from your mobile device.

– Contact Us:

  • The Vail School District COVID Support Team may be reached via email at covidsupport@vailschooldistrict.org or by phone at (520) 879-3909. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions that you may have!

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

COVID-19 Protocols for Students and Staff

COVID-19 Protocols for Students (Updated August 24, 2021)

COVID-19 Protocols for Staff (Updated August 24, 2021)

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 for a confidential conversation about  people/groups related to the school or program with whom you or your student has been in contact with.

 

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.

 

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.

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

  • 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.

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.

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. 

Prior Regulations and State/Federal Approved Plans

DRAFT - Safe Return to In-Person Instruction Plan

ADE Approved Distance Learning Plan

ADE Approved Mitigation Plan

John Carruth’s Letters to Parents

August 6, 2021 RE: 2021-22 School Year Update

August 6, 2021

Dear Parents,

The first few weeks of the 2021-22 school year are in the books. Our schools are operating on their regular full-time schedules and athletics are underway. We are optimistic that COVID-19 will cause minimal disruptions this year, but our reality is that the virus is still here.

We are experiencing an increase of COVID-19 cases in our community. In light of this and recent CDC guidance, I highly recommend each family consider having their children wear face coverings while indoors on campuses. In addition to protecting individuals from COVID-19, these measures also help prevent the spread in schools and keep classrooms open.

 I also encourage each family to strongly consider getting vaccinated if eligible to do so. The Pima County Health Department will be holding vaccination clinics on some of our campuses in the coming weeks. Vaccinations are a choice – not a requirement. Parent authorization is needed before any child can receive a vaccination. Information on the vaccination clinics can be found HERE.

Parents in Vail continue to have many outstanding instructional choices this year. In addition to our traditional in person options, we have Vail Virtual Live and Vail Virtual Self-Paced programs for parents who prefer remote instruction at this time. Information about the virtual school options can be found HERE

 At the June 8th governing board meeting, the Board took action making face coverings optional with the pledge to continue to monitor conditions surrounding COVID-19. At the end of June, the Arizona Legislature passed a law stating that masks and vaccines cannot be required for students, staff, or visitors in Arizona’s K-12 schools. 

The validity of the law is being challenged. We will continue to monitor the situation. In the meantime, Vail schools are required to and will follow all state laws.

Vail’s first guiding principle is, “We respect parents.” No matter what you choose for your family (vaccines, masks, in-person/remote), that decision will be respected. Further, in the Vail schools, we treat one another with kindness. At this time in the Vail schools, masks are recommended, and kindness is required.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Thank you for your continued support and trust.

John Carruth

Superintendent

May 14, 2021 RE: Changes Related to Recent CDC Guidance Update

May 14, 2021

Dear Parents,

You likely woke up this morning reading or listening to some version of a news story about the CDC updated guidance regarding mask use for people who are fully vaccinated. For the sake of accuracy, I’ve posted the link to the actual CDC guidance here.

The new guidance is the strongest signal to date by the CDC that things continue to move in the right direction regarding the pandemic. It’s also a strong statement by the CDC that vaccinations are effective. 

As a practical matter, it also signals the beginning of the end of mandatory mask requirements in most settings. For now, it is also a confusing message, especially for schools, as many adults in our setting are vaccinated while the overwhelming majority of students are not. The new guidance makes no mention of school settings. 

Further:

  • The new CDC guidance does not update quarantine procedures. Schools are still required by our health department (via the CDC guidance) to quarantine anyone who is in close contact with someone who is COVID positive. As of this writing, we have five classrooms at various sites that have some level of quarantine happening.
  • Students 12-15 years of age became eligible for vaccinations yesterday. Very few students 16 years and older have had an opportunity to be fully vaccinated. 
  • Our current mask requirements allow for optional use outdoors while requiring mask use indoors. 
  • All people ages 12 and up who want a vaccination will have the opportunity to become fully vaccinated prior to the new school year. 
  • Our mitigation goals over the last two weeks of school are to ensure that students have as few learning disruptions as possible while also being able to participate in end of the year celebrations, promotions, and graduation ceremonies. In light of the quarantine issue, keeping our indoor mask requirement for two more weeks will help us accomplish this goal.  

Considering the information above:

  • Masks will remain a requirement indoors for the remainder of this school year. There are only 10 days of school left and only 5 until our first graduation ceremony. 
  • Barring any additional CDC, state, or local changes in recommendations, it is my intent to recommend to the Governing Board at our June 8th meeting that face coverings will be optional for all students and staff for the new school year beginning in July 2021. 

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

Thank you for your continued support and partnership through the numerous changes that have been required this year. We are finishing this year strong and are excited about the many positive signs ahead for a smooth start to next school year.

John Carruth

Superintendent

April 30, 2021 RE: Mitigation, Board Meetings, Town Halls

April 30, 2021
Dear Parents,
I want to provide you with several important updates. 
Mitigation Measures:
This past Tuesday, the CDC updated its guidance on outdoor activities. After consulting with public health officials and listening to comments from parents and staff, the following adjustments will be made to our mitigation policy.
Beginning on Monday, May 3rd, the mask policy will be adjusted as follows:
  • During outdoor activities students will now have the choice of wearing a mask or removing it.
  • All students K-12 must continue to wear masks while indoors and while riding district transportation.
All mitigation strategies, including those listed above, will remain in place for the remainder of the school year. Thank you for your help and understanding in finishing out the school year safely.
Board Meetings:
Due to an unfortunate series of events, this past Tuesday’s board meeting was canceled. That meeting is being rescheduled and will be split into two meetings next week. 
The first meeting will be held on Monday, May 3rd at 5:00PM. The only agenda item will be a discussion of Vail’s mitigation policy which is set to expire on June 30th. Anyone wishing to speak to the Board on this issue may do so by registering at this link prior to 3:00PM on Monday. 
All speakers will be limited to two minutes. The call to the public portion of the meeting may be limited to one hour.
The second board meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 7th at 7:00PM. There will not be an agenda item on mitigation plans at this meeting. The agenda will consist of standard board business items. Information about the call to the public procedures for this meeting will be listed on the district website by next Tuesday. 
Based on the advice from Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos, both board meetings will be held remotely. We are working on plans to return to in-person board meetings as soon as possible. 
Town Halls:
We are hosting the last in our series of four town hall meetings on Tuesday, May 5th at 6:00PM. At each meeting we are asking participants to engage with each other around two questions focused on next year and then opening the last hour for open discussion/questions. 
You can register for the town hall here. Capacity is limited to the first 100 people. 
Thank you for your continued support as we navigate the changing landscape of providing education to our children during this pandemic.
If you have any questions please email us at vusdcommunications@vailschooldistrict.org.
Sincerely,
John Carruth
Superintendent

April 19, 2021 RE: Governor’s Executive Order on Face Coverings

April 19, 2021

Dear Vail Families,

Late this afternoon, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order which rescinded the requirement that face coverings be worn in schools. The Executive Order also states that school districts maintain the right to institute and enforce mitigation strategies, including the use of face coverings.

The Vail School District has a mitigation plan that has been adopted by our Governing Board. That plan includes the requirement to wear face coverings while on District property or while at District functions. 

That mitigation plan remains in effect and is unchanged by today’s Executive Order. To clear up any confusion for tomorrow, our mitigation plan and face covering policy remain in effect until further notice. 

We are evaluating the extent of the impact of today’s Executive Order beyond what is noted above. We will keep you informed of any additional impacts or changes as they arise. 

Thank you for your continued support.

John Carruth

April 18, 2021 RE: Plans for Next School Year

April 18, 2021

Dear Parents,

The end of our school year is rapidly approaching, and we are deep into planning for next school year. Unless there are unforeseen events, it is our expectation that next school year will be a return to a full slate of normal schedules and activities. It is our intent to open the school year in July with full five day-a-week schedules across our sites.

For parents who prefer remote instruction, we will have four distinct options available through our Vail Innovation Center (VIC). One of these options will be Vail Virtual Live which will replace the current Brick-to-Click remote model. If you or anyone you know is interested in remote learning, please see the attached flyer from VIC.

As we plan for next year, we also want to hear from you. I, along with our Governing Board, will be hosting a series of town halls to have an opportunity to listen and get your feedback on critical issues moving forward. There will be three in-person town hall dates and one Zoom date. Due to space restrictions, we are asking you to please RSVP for the events. All events will start at 6:00PM. The dates and locations are as follows:

Thursday, April 22nd @ Andrada Polytechnic High School

Monday, April 26th @ Cienega High School

Wednesday, April 28th @ Mica Mountain High School

Tuesday, May 4th – Virtual via Zoom

Attached below is a flyer with additional details.

You can register here
https://forms.gle/6KLbvpiwzqaAnLbw6

If you have any questions, please respond to newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you,
John Carruth

March 5, 2021 RE: Governing Board Approves In-Person Instruction

March 5, 2021

Dear Parents,

At a special meeting of the Vail Governing Board yesterday evening, plans to expand in-person instruction were discussed and approved.

The following will begin on March 22, 2021:

  • All schools will continue with the current start and end times to the day. 
  • Elementary schools will return to in-person instruction five days a week. 
  • Middle and high schools will return to in-person instruction four days a week, Monday through Thursday, with Fridays remaining asynchronous.
  • Brick to Click instruction will continue for families who need that option.

More information will be coming from your child’s school regarding the specific details of these plans at their respective schools. If you have any questions after you receive those details, please email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you for your continued support. Please have a safe and wonderful spring break.

John Carruth

Superintendent

February 23, 2021 RE: Transition to In-Person Instruction

February 23, 2021

Dear Parents,

As conditions surrounding COVID-19 are improving, we are making plans to expand in-person instruction. 

The following is being considered with tentative plans to begin on March 22, 2021:

  • All schools will continue with the current start and end times to the day. 
  • Elementary schools will return to in-person instruction five days a week. 
  • Middle and high schools will return to in-person instruction four days a week, Monday through Thursday, with Fridays remaining asynchronous.

We are also planning to maintain Brick to Click instruction for families who need that option.

You can expect more details coming from your child’s school in the coming days regarding the specifics of these plans at their respective school. Your child’s school will also contact you regarding your preference for in-person instruction or Brick-to-Click instruction. 

Once these plans have been finalized, I will make a recommendation to our Governing Board for consideration. I expect this final decision to take place no later than at our regularly scheduled board meeting on March 9th.

If you have any further questions after you hear from your child’s school, please feel free to email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org

Thank you for your continued support.

John Carruth

Superintendent

January 20, 2021 RE: Board Approves Return to Hybrid Instruction

January 20, 2021

Dear Parents and Families,

Yesterday afternoon the Vail Governing Board approved a return to hybrid instruction for all Pre-K-8 schools and Vail Academy and High School on Monday, January 25th and all high schools on Monday, February 8th. 

Parent and staff input was thoughtfully considered along with four important factors to make this decision including Pima County Health Department metrics (PCHD), guidance from PCHD, very low virus transmission rates on our campuses, and staff availability.

You can expect additional information about the return to hybrid learning from the principal at your child’s school within the next few days. 

Thank you.

John Carruth

Superintendent

January 18, 2021 RE: Update on Return to Hybrid Instruction

January 18, 2021

Dear Parents and Families,

After careful consideration I will be recommending to the Vail Governing Board that they approve a return to hybrid instruction for all Pre-K-8 schools and Vail Academy and High School on Monday, January 25th. 

In an effort to stagger the return, I will  also recommend that all high schools return to hybrid instruction on Monday, February 8th

Staffing schools with many on quarantine has been one of the most difficult challenges of the last several months. Staggering the opening will help assure we have enough staff, bus drivers, and substitute teachers to keep schools open. 

The Vail Governing Board is holding a special meeting Tuesday at 3:00 PM to discuss and take action on these recommendations.

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

Our strong mitigation strategies will continue to be used moving forward. Further, if someone in your household is sick with COVID or experiencing COVID like symptoms, notify the respective school and please keep your student home. 

Thank you again, for your continued support.

John Carruth

Superintendent

December 13, 2020 RE: Update from the Superintendent

December 13, 2020

Dear Parents,

The Vail Governing Board will be holding a special meeting Monday, December 14th. At the meeting I will recommend a temporary transition to remote learning for a three week period for all Vail schools starting Monday, January 4th. 

This three week period will allow staff, students, and community members who may have come in contact with the virus during Winter Break a period of time to quarantine before resuming hybrid learning. 

There was an increase in staff and students needing to quarantine after both the Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break. This increase often made it very difficult to staff schools. We hope to avoid repeating this situation by providing this temporary period of remote learning.

A final decision regarding the transition is pending Board approval on Monday evening. If approved, we plan on resuming hybrid learning on Monday, January 25th.

Navigating the changing conditions of this pandemic is extremely difficult. We will continue to monitor these conditions closely and make adjustments if and when necessary. 

We also understand that decisions such as this one impact all of you. Please know that they are made from a place of deep care for our students, their families, and our staff.

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

We greatly anticipate the day when we can resume normal school operations. Together we will overcome these difficult times. Thank you, again, for your continued support. Please have a very safe and happy holiday season.

John Carruth

Superintendent

PS – We also understand the current crisis in hospitals and will make accommodations to support the community by continuing to provide child care through Vail Community Programs and Vail Inclusive Preschool for hospital staff who are parents in the District. Please contact Vail Community Programs at 879-2032 or Vail Inclusive Preschool at 879-1755 for more information.

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