Updates Regarding Coronavirus & General Health

Letters from the Superintendent

Click here for a link to the official announcement from the governor’s office. 

Click here to view updates from the Vail School District website.

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:

Hybrid – Partially In-Person/Partially Remote (with modified schedules)
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

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

Dear Parents,

Please watch this video for the latest information on schools remaining in remote learning.

 

Please email newschoolyear@vailschooldistrict.org if you have any questions.

Recap:

  • Remote learning will continue to be in place on Monday, August 17th through at least September 14th.
  • 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.
  • A 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 the spread and are updated every Thursday. You can follow these benchmarks here  (click on Pima County to see our county level data).
  • Currently, the benchmarks have not been met. Utilizing the ADHS benchmarks and in consultation with Pima County Health officials, it is estimated that it may 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 out of remote learning will occur.
  • We are committed to opening schools as soon as it is reasonably safe to do so. We share the beliefs of many parents that having students in school is best for children and their families.

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

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
Superintendent
Vail Unified School District
(520) 879-2004

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. (See Attachments)
Click HERE to watch video on Remote Learning and Brick to Click in K-8.
Click HERE to watch video on what 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 “School Opening and COVID-19 Information” 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
John Carruth
June 25, 2020 Update

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:

On Campus Learning where school will be as close to normal as possible with enhanced health and safety precautions in place.

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

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 Update to Parents

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.

2.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