PVSchools has been diligently planning and preparing for students to return to school campuses for the 2020-2021 school year, while ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff, and community.
Countless individuals have invested their time and expertise to develop a plan which provides educational choices for our families and safe learning environments. In addition to increased health and safety measures for full-time in-person instruction, the plan includes contingency scenarios should we need to transition back to full-time distance learning. Our decisions guiding our reopening plan have been guided by the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH), state and local governments, and input from PVSchools families, educators, staff, and community members.
We recognize that circumstances and guidance related to COVID-19 may continue to evolve, and we will continue to adapt our plan to respond to those changes.
Thank you again for your patience and support as we collectively navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reopening Criteria for In-Person Learning
On September 18, the PVSchools Governing Board voted to amend the district’s reopening criteria.
To help make it easier to understand, PVSchools is using a “traffic signal” description:
A “Green Light” signals a return to in-person learning based on:
- Testing positivity below 5 percent*
- Cases fewer than 50 per 100,000 population
A “Yellow Light” signals caution for a possible return to online learning based on:
- Testing positivity between 5 and 10 percent* OR
- Cases between 50 and 100 per 100,000 population
A “Red Light” signals a stop to in-person learning and a return to online learning based on:
- Testing positivity above 10 percent* OR
- Cases more than 100 per 100,000 population
Metrics must be met for two weeks before changing to in-person learning and for one week to return to distance-learning. These metrics are measured using the district-level data available on the Maricopa County Department of Public Health dashboard, which is updated every Thursday at 9:00 a.m.
Metrics for Reopening Dashboard – Maricopa County
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has an online data dashboard. Families are able to use the dashboard to review the COVID-19 data and then compare it to our district's criteria. MCDPH's dashboard is updated each Thursday at 9 a.m. and provides data specific to our district by searching “Paradise Valley Unified School District” in the search bar. We will update this webpage every Thursday, as well, with the latest metrics.
As of October 29, our district's seven-day average for testing positivity is 4.57 percent and for daily cases is 62.62 per 100,000 population, putting us in the "Yellow Light" for in-person learning, according to our amended criteria.
Digital Support for Parents and Students
PV Assist, an Information Technoloy support site, will help students and their families navigate logins/passwords, issues with Chromebooks, Google Classroom, and much more.
Your Path Back to In-Person Learning
The PVSchools 2020-2021 school year began on our regularly scheduled first day on Wednesday, August 5, in an all-virtual learning environment.
On September 18, 2020, the Governing Board approved the following staggered schedule to return to in-person learning:
Start Date: October 8
- Grades K-3, 7, & 9
- Self-Contained Special Education
Start Date: October 12
- Grades 4-6, 8, and 10
Start Date: October 19
- Grades 11 and 12
Following a staggered or phased-in start allowed students most in need of returning to in-person learning to come back earliest, allowed reopening to be spread out over time to ensure stability in health benchmarks, and provided students in transition grades (Kindergarten,7th, 9th) the opportunity to acclimate to the campus.
Families who elected to not have their child(ren) return for in-person learning were able to remain in distance learning using PVConnect or PVOnline. Schools followed up with families to confirm their desired learning options.
PVSchools Learning Pathways
PreK-12 students will follow the school’s full-day, in-person schedule.
Enhanced safety measures will be followed (see details beginning on page 6 of the PVSchools Prepared document). Students will be required to wear cloth face masks while at school and on the bus.
Depending on program capacity and staffing, students will have the opportunity to transition to/from PVOnline at the quarter (K-6) and at the semester (7-12). Teachers working with students both in-person and online will be followed in each classroom.
Should there be a need for a student to self-quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, the student can continue to learn with their teacher and class from home through the PVConnect model.
PreK-12 students participating in PVConnect will follow the school’s full-day, in-person schedule.
In most cases, students will view the classroom teachers’ instruction from Google Meet or WebEx using their computer device, while teachers are instructing students in-person. The lesson may include times of direct instruction, classroom discussion and independent work. PVConnect students are expected to join the live instruction at designated times and remain in the virtual classroom until the teacher has directed otherwise.
The PVConnect teacher remains the same for students, when possible. There may be variations of this model for some programs.
Students in grades K-12 will participate in full, online learning that is self-paced with the expectation of meeting monthly progress goals.
Students are enrolled in PVOnline rather than a brick and mortar school. PVOnline is an approved Arizona Online Instruction provider through the Arizona State Board of Education and is fully accredited as an extension of the school district. All PVOnline teachers are highly qualified and certified in their area of instruction.
Introduction and Background
In order to develop recommendations regarding reopening of school for 2020-2021, the Superintendent’s Committee on Reopening (SCoRe) was formed through a formal committee call. The group consists of representatives from key stakeholder groups:
- View the SCoRe Membership
- Mitch von Gnechten, Ed.D., Director Student Services - Secondary - Facilitator
- Lori Berman, Parent - UPC
- Kea Carota, Parent - UPC
- Susan Chubrich-Seep, Teacher at Horizon High School - PVEA
- Michelle Courtright, President of PVSEA - PVSEA
- Brandon George, Director of Transportation - COA
- Lora Herbein, Director of Student Services - Elementary - COA
- Leah Knaeble, President of PVEA - PVEA
- Melissa Molzhon, Principal of North Canyon High School - PVP
- Melissa Schwartz, Parent - UPC
- Jessica Wani, President of UPC - UPC
- Shawn Webster, ESP Shadow Mountain High School - PVSEA
- Jerry Withers, Principal of Campo Bello Elementary School - PVP
- View SCoRe's Guiding Principles
The guiding principles of SCoRe were to ensure:
SCoRe was tasked with developing recommendations for parameters and guiding principles to implement based on three scenarios:
- The safety and well-being of all students, staff, and community.
- Meaningful teaching and learning for all students and staff.
- Fidelity of the continued operations of the district.
The recommendations for parameters and guiding principles were aligned with the information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arizona health experts, and guidance from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).
- Schools begin on time and need to close due to a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
- School opening is delayed due to increases in COVID-19 cases.
- Schools begin on time and remain open.
SCoRe reviewed a variety of resources in the development of their recommendations, including, but not limited to:
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) K-12 District Reopening Checklist, Hanover Research
- Schools Decision Tree, Centers for Disease Control
- Considerations for Schools, Centers for Disease Control
- PVSchools Pandemic Flu Protocols, PVSchools
- Return to School Roadmap, Opportunity Labs
- Guidance on Return to the Workplace, Gust Rosenfeld
- Roadmap for Reopening Schools, Arizona Department of Education
- Protocols for Reopening, Udall Shumway
Health and Wellness Measures
All persons, including, but not limited to, staff, students, vendors, visitors, and volunteers, shall wear a cloth face mask while on any district property, in any district facility, at any district event, whether indoors or outdoors, and in any district vehicle, including district busses or vehicles rented or leased by the district.
Cloth face masks are to fully cover a person’s nose and mouth fitting snugly, but comfortably against the sides of the face and under the chin. Masks are to be of a solid material and double layered (for example, a double layered cotton mask or a surgical mask). They are to remain affixed in place without the use of one’s hands and are to not have holes or valves. They are to be laundered regularly at home or disposed of appropriately. Students who refuse to comply with the safety protocols adopted for in-person learning will be assigned to an online learning program pursuant to A.R.S. 15-841(F).
School Campuses and Classrooms
Where possible, student seating will be arranged to maintain social distancing. Desks will be faced in the same direction, rather than facing each other, or students will sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.
Each student’s belongings will be separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or areas.
Assigned seating in classrooms will be implemented to assist with contact tracing.
Where possible, social distancing will be maintained in open areas, such as hallways, stairwells, gyms, playgrounds.
Students will be encouraged to bring their own water bottle to minimize use and touching of water fountains.
To limit exposure to other students and staff, recess will be separated by classes and grade level cohorts.
Signage will be posted in all rooms and common areas explaining hygiene practices to prevent spread.
Where possible, adjustments to drop-off and pick-up routines will be made to facilitate social distancing. Staff will escort young students into and out of the building. Families are asked to remain in their vehicles or wait outside.
Additional cleaning staff at each campus will be hired for routine cleaning of restrooms, drinking fountains, lunchrooms, and common areas throughout the school day.
Continued air quality will be maintained by cleaning all HVAC unit coils and changing air filters as scheduled.
Students should stay home if they feel ill or are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory infection.
Parents and guardians should assess their child’s health daily prior to heading to school or the bus stop.
At the beginning of each day as students enter the classroom, teachers will informally screen students for respiratory symptoms. If the teacher has concerns, they will contact the school nurse prior to sending the student to the Nurse’s Office.
- Students will be reminded of proper respiratory hygiene, including:
- Avoiding touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Covering the mouth when coughing.
- Covering the nose when sneezing and safely discarding tissues.
- Additional cleaning staff at each campus will be hired for routine cleaning of restrooms, drinking fountains, lunchrooms, and common areas throughout the school day.
- Continued air quality will be maintained by cleaning all HVAC unit coils and changing air filters as scheduled.
- Frequent hand washing/cleaning will be encouraged at regular intervals throughout the day with both soap and water or hand sanitizer. Instructions for hand washing include:
- Using soap and water, scrubbing for 20 seconds, and rinsing.
- Using paper towels to dry hands, turn sink handles, and open doors, then safely discarding.
Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Additional hand-washing sinks will be installed at all elementary and middle schools.
Hand sanitizer stations will be installed in lobbies and campus main entries.
Visitors on Campus
All visitors and volunteers will be required to wear cloth masks and must follow all posted safety protocols.
To the extent possible, access on campus for outside visitors or volunteers except for the safety and well-being of students will be limited.
All visitors or parents/guardians are required to report to the front office and not go beyond unless it is for the safety or well-being of their child.
Reported Positive Case of Student/Staff Member
- If the school is notified of a student who has tested positive the school nurse will inform the parent that the student must remain isolated and be 24 hours fever free without the use of fever reducing medication and have improved symptoms and had 10 days elapsed since the student first had symptoms before returning to school.
- The school nurse will contact MCDPH per the ADHS Emergency Measure Reporting Cases protocol.
- MCDPH may follow up with the family and school regarding contact tracing and secondary measures.
- Communication will be sent to families of the impacted class or classes.
- Facilities will conduct hydrostatic cleaning of exposed areas.
- If a staff member tests positive, the staff member will work with the Benefits Department (Human Resources) to follow protocols for when they may return to work and for MCDPH for contact tracing.
Student/Staff Presenting COVID Symptoms at School
- If a student presents COVID symptoms at school, the student will be placed in an isolation room in the Health Office away from the general population.
- The school nurse will utilize personal protective equipment and make an assessment of the student.
- The parent/guardian will be contacted to pick up the student.
- The student is to isolate themselves for 10 days at home and be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication and have had symptoms improved before returning to school.
- COVID-19 testing is recommended.
- If the test result is positive, the student is to isolate themselves for 10 days at home and be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication and have had symptoms improved before returning to school.
- If the test result is negative, the student is to isolate themselves and be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication and have had symptoms improved before returning to school.
- Parents/guardians of the students whom the student had a sustained exposure to an individual with COVID-19 like symptoms will be contacted and informed to monitor their student for symptoms.
- Staff members presenting symptoms will go directly home and will work with the Benefits Department (Human Resources) to follow protocols for when they may return to work and for MCDPH for contact tracing.
Health Screening Checklist for Home
We all must work together to make our school campus as safe as possible for students, teachers, and staff. While PVSchools is taking measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, we need our families to do the same.
1. Take your child’s temperature every day prior to coming to school and conduct a daily screening of your child for COVID-like symptoms prior to your child arriving at school.
2. Keep your child home from school if they have any of the following symptoms that are not related to an already diagnosed condition or illness:
- Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Please make sure you have read the Maricopa County Department of Public Health's (MCDPH) guidance if your child is sick.
The following health and wellness measures are in addition to the ones previously mentioned. Click on the following departments and topics to read their protocols:
Nutrition and Wellness Department Protocols
- Cafeteria entries and service lanes will be marked for social distancing.
- ID scanners will be implemented to reduce or eliminate use of keypads.
- When possible, procedures for lunch will be adjusted to allow for social distancing, greater spacing, and to reduce interactions, including possibility of adding additional lunch periods at middle and high schools and staggering lunches at elementary schools.
- Schools will continue to follow practices and procedures that comply with public health guidelines such as food handling, food preparation, cleaning and disinfecting, and food and drink dispensers.
Transportation Department Protocols
- Bus staff and students are required to wear cloth masks on buses.
- Visible signage will be placed at the entry to each bus and students will be reminded not to ride if they are symptomatic.
- Students will be asked to comply with social distancing guidelines when waiting at the stop, during boarding, and while exiting the bus.
- Seating charts will be utilized, seating siblings together and implementing “neighbor” seating to provide consistency in seating and minimize movement within the bus.
- There will be designated cleaning time in route to ensure buses are disinfected twice daily.
- Families are encouraged to transport their children to school to reduce the number of students on a bus.
View Protocols Related to Students' Social-Emotional Well-Being
- Students’ social-emotional well-being will be assessed when schools reopen, with additional support provided for students showing signs of mental health concerns, including trauma.
- Schools will incorporate trauma-informed practices and social-emotional learning into classroom instruction in a manner that supports equity and inclusion and reflects cultural responsiveness.
View Protocols for Events and Field Trips
- Large group gatherings, such as school assemblies, fall festivals, dances, and book fairs will be suspended until further notice and resumption will be reevaluated regularly. This includes school sponsored and PTA/PTO sponsored events.
- Field Trips will be suspended until further notice and resumption will be reevaluated regularly. Opportunities for virtual field trips will be explored.
- Determinations regarding possible resumption of athletics programs will be made in collaboration with the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), including whether public attendance at events may be possible due to restrictions on large group gatherings.
View Fine Arts Protocols
- The sharing of arts supplies or equipment will be minimized and discouraged when possible. Any shared supplies or equipment will be sanitized after each use.
- Students’ own art supplies will be separated from others’ in their own individual containers.
Vocal Music, Choir, Band, Orchestra
- The sharing of instruments will be minimized and discouraged. Any shared instruments or equipment will be sanitized after each use.
- Sharing of mouthpieces or other such items will not be permitted.
- Instrument covers, such as bell covers, should be used on all wind instruments, including recorders.
Theatre and Dance
Please see the Fine Arts Operational Plan for more details.
- The sharing of makeup, costumes, wigs, props and accessories will not be permitted. Costumes and wigs will be sanitized after each rehearsal.
- Students will not share any voice amplification equipment when possible. When not possible, equipment will be sanitized after each use.
- Dressing rooms, green rooms, and production areas will be sanitized before and after rehearsals.
Career and Technical Education Operational Plan
- Community Education Operational Plans
- Child Development Centers
- Mascot - School Year
- Preschool Programs
- Facilities Operational Plan
Fine Arts Department Operational Plan
Gifted Education Operational Plan
Health Office Operational Plan
Language Acquisition Operational Plan
Nutrition and Wellness Operational Plan
Physical Education (P.E.) Operational Plan
Social-Emotional Support Operational Plan
Special Education Operational Plan
Transportation Operational Plan