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Reopening Frequently Asked Questions
Disclaimer: Circumstances and guidance related to COVID-19 may continue to evolve; therefore, answers to questions may be updated to respond to those changes.
Please click on any of the following questions to see our response:
Returning to School Frequently Asked Questions
- Why was the criteria for reopening amended?
The criteria was amended following consultation with public health officials who advised the level of cases per 100,000 persons may not get much lower than our current levels. It was also shared that setting a target that is too low may limit the ability to reopen and stay open. It was suggested that based on current data and science to set the target at 50 cases per 100,000.
- What are the dates for the staggered reopening schedule?
Students will return to in-person learning on campus based upon the following schedule:
• October 8: PreK; Grades K-3, 7, and 9; Roadrunner; Sweetwater; and Self-Contained Special Education
• October 12: Grades 4-6, 8, and 10
• October 19: Grades 11 and 12
- When students return to in-person learning, will wearing masks be required?
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 buses 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 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.
For more details, please review the latest Parent-Student Handbook and look on page 41, specifically.
- What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?
PVSchools follows guidelines from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH). 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, 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 Arizona Department of Health Services (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 as needed for 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.
The updated PVSchools Prepared plan will outline protocols related to positive tests and symptoms of COVID-19.
Community Education FAQ
- Will before- and after-school Mascot Club programming be available once in-person learning begins?
Yes, Mascot will be available once in-person learning begins. The Community Education Department is currently working on the logistics and will be communicating with Mascot families directly once details have been finalized. If you have questions, contact Community Education at 602-449-2200.
- Will students continuing in the PVConnect model have the same teachers with whom they started the school year?
The PVConnect teacher remains the same for students, wherever possible. There may be variations of this model for some programs.
- Will teachers be working with students both in person and online at the same time?
The combined PVConnect/in-person model with teachers working with students both in-person and online will be followed in each classroom. This will allow students to keep their current teachers. Additionally, should there be a need for a student to self-quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, they can continue to learn with their teacher and class from home through the PVConnect model.
- How will a teacher provide live instruction to PVConnect students and those in person?
In most cases, teachers will live stream their classroom instruction through their district-issued technology. PVConnect students will participate just like they are in the classroom.
- What is the expectation for student attendance in PVConnect?
Students in PVConnect will be expected to participate for the full duration of the class periods unless otherwise directed by the teacher. During independent practice or project time, teachers may direct students to work offline to provide breaks from screen time.
- Will the PVConnect schedule be shortened like it was beginning in August?
No. When in-person instruction begins, students in PVConnect and in-person will follow a similar, full-day school schedule.
- How will teachers report attendance for PVConnect students?
In K-6, teachers will mark students present if they are online during the morning and afternoon. In grades 7-12, teachers will mark students present each period if they are attending online at the designated times.
- What accommodations are there going to be to get students up to speed when in-person classes resume?
Instruction during PVConnect and PVOnline will focus on new learning, while also reviewing key concepts and skills that students may have missed this previous spring. When it is safe for students to transition from online learning to in-person instruction, teachers will use assessment data to determine which concepts and skills to focus on for the remainder of the school year. The District’s curriculum team has developed resources to support teachers in this effort.
- Will recordings of PVConnect instruction be available for viewing over the weekend and assignments be able to be submitted at later dates?
Instruction during PVConnect is intended to be live instruction to allow students to communicate with each other and their teachers in an engaging environment. For students unable to participate in live instruction, PVOnline offers a more personalized pacing for students, where students have access to video content and assignments whenever the student is able to connect virtually.
- Will my preschool child’s speech services be available in person or via WebEx?
During the time students are participating in PVConnect or PVOnline, speech services will be available through WebEx.
- What will be the expectations regarding assignments and grading?
Beginning August 5, attendance and completion of assignments are required for all students. Students will be graded in accordance to grading policies and practices appropriate to the class and grade level set by the District and teacher(s). All students will also participate in classroom, District, and state assessments, as appropriate.
- How will devices and internet be provided for those families who do not have access?
Through Title I, The PVSchools Education Foundation, and eRate, we are hopeful to continue paying for families who signed up for the Connect2Compete program that began service this spring, beyond the free offering of two months from Cox. Additionally, we have been procuring additional WiFi hotspots for additional families who do not have access.
- When can students switch from PVConnect to PVOnline?
Students in grades 7 thru 12 who are enrolled in PVConnect can transfer to PVOnline at the semester, and students in grades K thru 6 can transfer to PVOnline at the quarter.
- Can I switch from PVConnect to in-person learning after the start date for in-person learning?
Yes. Families electing for students to remain in PVConnect when in-person learning begins may switch to in-person at a later date. Families beginning in-person may also elect for students to switch to PVConnect at a later date. In either case, families should work with the teacher and school to manage an effective date for the change and ensure attendance can be accurately reflected. Learning options should not be switched or alternated intermittently.
- Will PVConnect be available for the entire year for children who will not be returning to in-person learning?
PVConnect allows for a smooth transition for when in-person learning resumes and also allows for PVConnect to continue to run along with traditional, in-person learning.The length of time that PVConnect will be available and whether it might phase out at some point later in the year has yet to be determined.
- For elementary students, will students continue to participate in specials online through the PVConnect model, even when in-person learning resumes?
While it will look different while instruction is online, elementary students will continue to participate in specials. Once in-person learning resumes, the plan is to continue to offer specials for students continuing in the PVConnect model, noting that it may look different than when all instruction was online.
- Will we be able to continue with PVConnect once schools are able to reopen since our child is immunocompromised and/or because we don't feel like it is safe yet?
Yes, PVConnect allows for a smooth transition for when in-person learning resumes and also allows for PVConnect learning to continue to run along with traditional, in-person learning.
- My high school child is currently enrolled in PVOnline and wants to return to in-person learning; can this be done at anytime?
PVOnline high school students are committed to staying until the semester and unable to return to the school campus before that time.
- If my student begins the school year at PVOnline and wants to move back to in-person learning options later in the year at their zoned school, will there be space for them?
Yes. We would accept any student at their zoned school at the end of the first semester if they are returning from PVOnline. While we could not guarantee availability in specialized programming, we would honor the specialized program placement for the 2021-22 school year and beyond.
Open Enrollment FAQ
- If we open enrolled at one school, but choose to enroll in PVOnline or elsewhere in the district for the 2020-21 school year, will my child be able to return to the school we selected for open enrollment in 2021-22?
Yes. Students will be able to return to their school at which they open enrolled if they remain in PVSchools for 2020-21 but choose to enroll at a different school due to COVID-19.
- What is the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s (AIA) timeline for fall sports?
- Golf and Spiritline (Cheer/Pom) began tryouts August 17, 2020.
- Swim/Dive and Cross Country began tryouts August 24, 2020.
- Badminton and Volleyball began tryouts August 31, 2020.
- Football begins September 7, 2020.
- What will cleaning of water fountains, door handles, playground equipment, and other high-touch surfaces throughout the day look like?
Custodial services are being expanded to allow for additional sanitization during the day of high-touch surfaces, including water fountains, door handles, and other identified areas. The CDC does not recommend daily cleaning of playground equipment. Playgrounds will continue to be cleaned on the typical 2-week schedule.
Contingency Plans FAQ
- When will in-person learning begin?
We do not have a firm date for returning to in-person classes at this time. We have established criteria for a “green light” for in-person learning in alignment with the recommendations by the Arizona Department of Public Health and medical experts. Those are:
- Two weeks of testing positivity below 5 percent, AND
- Two weeks of cases fewer than 10 per 100,000 population.
We continue to monitor progress toward these criteria on the Maricopa County Department of Public Health's School Reopening Dashboard. The dashboard is updated each Thursday at 4 p.m. and provides data specific to our district by searching “Paradise Valley Unified School District” in the search bar.
We have also committed to providing families and staff with transition time before moving to in-person learning so that lesson plans can be adjusted, childcare options can be put in place, and safety protocols can be established. The earliest return to in-person learning would be in early- to mid-October. We will continue to monitor the data and will provide updates regarding trends as we approach a “green light.” As a reminder, details regarding our reopening criteria can be found when you visit the district’s Reopening page. This webpage will also be updated every Thursday afternoon with the latest metrics.
- What type of support will be in place for students who may be experiencing fears/anxieties?
Our district social and emotional leaders have developed plans to ensure that our students are returning to an environment where they feel safe and connected. Each school has staff to support the social and emotional well-being of students, and they will work with our teachers on procedures, strategies, and a referral process to support those students in need of social and emotional support.
- Do students need a camera and/or microphone on their computer?
Yes, if students are using a personal device. The district devices are equipped with both cameras and microphones. If your student does not have a district device already, we will be providing information on how to obtain one.
Recess and Lunch FAQs
- Will students still have opportunities to engage socially with their classmates at recess and lunch at the elementary school level?
Our intent is to provide important opportunities that support the social and emotional well-being of our students. While we are designing lunch and recess to address social distancing and cohorting, we expect that students will have the opportunity to socialize with their classmates.
- How will recess be handled?
Recess will continue, both due to requirements in law mandating recess twice daily and the overall welfare of students. Keeping with the concept of minimizing students’ exposure to within cohorts of students, schools will be working to limit recess to individual grade levels at a time and, if possible, separated by classrooms. The CDC does not recommend wearing masks during periods of physical activity. 6’ of social distancing will be reinforced.
- How will lunches be handled at the elementary, middle and high school levels?
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.
- Will students be required to wear masks once in-person learning is able to begin?
Yes. Students and staff will be required to wear masks in all in-person settings where social distancing is not possible.
What is being done to protect medically fragile students and staff members?
Our school nurses will work with teachers and paraprofessionals to provide guidance on the appropriate accommodations needed to support each student. Those employees that work with medically fragile students will also be provided with the appropriate PPE.
- How will training/information be provided to families to remind them to keep students exhibiting symptoms at home, screen for symptoms daily, etc.?
Information and reminders for families will be provided in updates to families from the superintendent, district e-newsletters, communications from school principals, messages on school marquees, PVSchools Reopening Plan, posters at schools, videos, the district’s website, and district social media channels, just to name a few.
- What if a student refuses to wear a mask at school or repeatedly takes it off in defiance of the mandate to do so?
Students will be placed in an online learning option if they refuse to wear masks. Accommodations will be made for students who are unable to wear a mask for documented medical reasons.
- Will masks be provided for staff? Will masks be provided for students?
Spare masks will be available for staff and students should they become lost, damaged, or soiled during the day. Additionally, we are working with community partners to help support families for whom obtaining masks may be challenging.
- Will specific PPE be provided for those whose roles need it, such as nurses and those working with students with significant disabilities?
Yes. Our nurses are working on developing these protocols and PPE has been ordered and is anticipated to arrive before the start of school.
- Will families be obligated to report a family member who test positive for COVID-19 to the school?
HIPAA guidelines do not require families to report positive COVID-19 cases to the school. However, we strongly encourage parents to communicate all confirmed cases and possible exposures to COVID-19.
- What is the protocol for when it is reported that a student who has been at school is COVID-19 positive?
We will follow the current protocols established by the county. Our nurses remain in contact with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health regarding the latest procedures to follow. Protocols continue to be updated and we will follow protocols as outlined once in-person classes resume.
- What is the protocol if it is reported that multiple students in one class have tested positive for COVID-19? What happens with those who were exposed?
Our nurses will report confirmed cases to the Maricopa County Health Department to identify trends within the community. Schools will communicate confirmed cases, without student identification, to families of students if they have been in close contact and at potential risk of exposure.
- What is the plan for continuing to support students with academics who need to stay home due to exposure/illness?
Students may continue to receive support from their regular classroom teacher(s). Students who may be out for extended periods of time will have access to enroll in PVOnline.
Special Classes FAQs
- How will music classes such as band and choir be handled?
Students will be required to wear masks when singing or whenever they are not engaged in playing an instrument. Students will not share instruments or materials. Band directors will teach and require proper sanitization of instruments before and following each use.
- How will P.E. classes be handled?
Classes will focus on individual activities (such as conditioning, yoga, health) in the fall and transition to low-contact team sports when appropriate. Teachers will eliminate or reduce the use of shared equipment such as balls, bats, and racquets. Classes will participate outdoors as much as possible, barring heat advisories or inclement weather. Students will work in the same, small groups, when appropriate and will wash hands before, during, and after activities/classes. Students will be required to wear masks unless they are able to maintain 6 feet of distancing; students will not be required to wear masks when participating in physical exertion.
- Will both PVConnect and PVOnline offer honors, Advanced Placement, and Dual Enrollment classes?
All classes that would normally be available for in-person instruction are available in the PVConnect model. Browse all courses available at PVOnline.
- What procedures will be in place on school buses?
Students will be required to wear cloth masks while riding the bus and buses will be disinfected twice daily. A seating chart will be used to assign students to specific seats with two students per seat, encouraging siblings and neighbors or friends to sit together. As routes are being planned, they will be optimized to shorten ride times by focusing on routes by feeder schools. The number of students at each stop will be reduced by spreading out bus stops 600 feet per Arizona Minimum Standards to allow for social distancing while students wait for the buses. Finally, we will focus on reducing the number of students on a bus by encouraging parents to transport students and enforcing board policies on transportation including boundaries and ridership.