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Arizona school districts announce changes for 2020-2021 school year

School will look very different for students across Arizona this upcoming school year.

PHOENIX — Students, parents and teachers across Arizona are looking forward to the fall, when school is expected to start back up again.

But school will look very different this upcoming school year.

Gov. Doug Ducey announced that students can head back to school in the new school year, even as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise. 

Ducey said at the time that some students would not be able to go back to in-person classes due to health issues and concerns.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said in a recent letter that reopening school campuses shouldn’t be done until COVID-19 is “under control.”

RELATED: Arizona superintendent expresses concerns over reopening schools to in-person classes

Some changes may include lunches in classrooms, limited contact with other classes and more.

Here are the school districts that have released plans for the upcoming school year, listed in alphabetical order.

This is not a comprehensive list. If your school district has announced plans for next year, please email connect@12News.com. 

RELATED: Gov. Ducey orders resources for upcoming school year, but no statewide plan for in-person classes

Alhambra Elementary School District

The Alhambra Elementary School District said students will go to school on Mondays and Tuesdays, learn from home on Wednesdays and then go back to the classroom on Thursdays and Fridays. 

The schools will be sanitized on Wednesday as well as on the weekend. 

You can find more information here.

Apache Junction School District 

The Apache Junction School District said it hopes to open in-person classes after fall break on Oct. 12. 

But the governing board may want to open sooner, so officials are relooking at how they use the metrics of Pinal County. 

You can find more information here.

Blue Ridge School District

The Blue Ridge School District said it would offer three options to students for the upcoming school year. 

They are full-time in person Monday through Thursday, a flex option with alternative days in school and only two days in class each week or a fully online option. 

You can find more information here.

Cartwright School District

Cartwright School District students will go to class as usual Mondays through Thursdays and have Fridays off starting on Aug. 3. Fridays will be deep-cleaning days.

The district said officials are working to offer free or affordable childcare to families. 

You can find more information here.

Casa Grande Elementary School District

The Casa Grande Elementary School District announced that it would start distance learning on Aug. 17. 

In-person classes wouldn't start until fall break, at the earliest. 

You can find more information here.

Chandler Unified School District

Chandler Unified School District's Governing Board ordered a delay for in-person classroom instruction until the second quarter of the school year, which is October.

The district's 47,000 students will receive lessons virtually until then.

The board will re-evaluate at its Sept. 23 meeting if the criteria has not been met.

You can find more information here.

Deer Valley Unified School District

Families with students in the Deer Valley Unified School District will have three options for the new school year. 

Those options will be fully online, fully in person or a hybrid model. 

You can find more information here.

Dysart Unified School District

Dysart Unified School District started online learning on Aug. 3 and is expected to continue through at least Oct. 16.  

Students can complete all learning online or return to school when they reopen.  

This selection had to be made before the first day of school, and can only be changed one time per semester.

You can find more information here.

Flagstaff Unified School District

The Flagstaff Unified School District announced families could select plans for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

"To best meet the needs of students and families, it is critical that families provide information to FUSD in advance of the start of the school year," a statement on the district's website read. 

That will allow school staff to be prepared and have resources allocated prior to the first day of school. 

Follow-up information to verify enrollment and officially register will come from school sites. 

You can find more information here.

Glendale Elementary School District

The Glendale Elementary School District said it would postpone the reopening of on-site learning until after Labor Day.

District officials had said it would offer students and parents two learning options.

In-person or online learning will begin once the governor allows in-person learning to continue. 

The in-person learning would also involve shortened school days: 

• 7:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.: American, Glenn F. Burton, Coyote Ridge, Discovery, Horizon, Landmark 

• 8:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.: Bicentennial North, Bicentennial South, Don Mensendick, Melvin E. Sine, Harold W. Smith, Sunset Vista, William C. Jack 

• 8:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.: Challenger, Desert Garden, Desert Spirit, Isaac E. Imes 

The school district said full social distancing cannot be guaranteed for in-person learning, but that increased health and safety practices will be in place for all students, staff and families. 

Online learning will be on the Canvas learning management system platform. 

Families must commit to a one semester enrollment. Students would participate in full-time online instruction. 

Families are also responsible for providing internet for the students.

You can find more information here.

Kyrene School District

Students and faculty at the Kyrene School District in Tempe will start the 2020 school year with online learning on Aug. 17. 

The district had previously announced that masks would be required while in classrooms, but it was not immediately known when that option would be available.

The school district is also giving parents in-person, remote or hybrid options for their students when the 2020-21 school year begins.

Students who have difficulty breathing or can’t physically remove a mask on their own are exempt. Masks aren’t required for outdoor activities if social distancing can be maintained.

Schools will have a limited supply of masks, but the school district recommends students bring their own face coverings from home.

You can find more information here.

RELATED: Kyrene School District students required to wear masks in class next school year

Laveen School District

Laveen’s governing board said it approved the recommendations provided for the 2020-21 school year. 

The following schooling options were approved:

  • Full-Year Online Learning (Laveen Online Academy)
  • Flexible Distance Learning (Distance Learning with Transition to On-Site)
  • Daily On-Site Learning (Full-Day, Every-Day at School)
  • Estrella Foothills Global Academy (Grades K-6)

You can find more information here.

Mesa Public Schools 

Mesa Public Schools announced that schools will open Aug. 4 with remote learning for all students.

Remote learning will continue until it is safe to provide modified or in-person instruction, the district says.

It is unclear when students may return to the classroom. 

“I don’t know of any safe date that has been done correctly in this entire pandemic," Mesa Schools Dr. Andi Fourlis said on a remote public hearing and governing board meeting hours before the plan to reopen was made official.

“October might not be a safe time," she added.

However, the superintendent did not rule out the possibility of alternating between in-person and remote learning down the line.

“When we say it is safe, we are looking at the public health officials to guide these decisions," the superintendent said.

The school district previously released a plan that has three options to return to school: In-person, modified in-person, and remote learning.

Those options would be available to students from PreK through grade 12. 

All three of the options allow students to change to another model, participate in extracurricular activities, and all students will get a district-provided laptop.

According to the district, remote learning will include daily attendance and schedules for students. Teachers will provide feedback on student work and issue grades. Teachers and staff will be accessible to students in a variety of ways and students with special needs will receive specially designed instruction and other related services as appropriate. 

You can find more information here.

RELATED: Mesa Public Schools releases plans for 2020-2021 school year

Peoria Unified School District

The Peoria Unified School District announced that it would begin on time on Wednesday, Aug. 5 in an all virtual format.

August 5 through 7 will be half-days for students to allow them to acclimate and ease into a virtual environment. 

The district later announced that kindergarten through second-grade students would return on Sept. 21 and, if all data trends remain, the rest would return on Sept. 28.

More information can be found here.

Phoenix Elementary School District

The Phoenix Elementary School District says students at its 13 schools will begin online class on August 6.

However, campuses will not be open at least until October 12. The date may still change, and the district will then offer a blended learning option for students.

More details will be released after the district board meets on July 20.

Phoenix Union High School District

The Phoenix Union High School District announced that its schools will only offer remote lessons for the beginning of the next school year.

“We do commit to coming back as soon as it’s safe and responsible, but we don’t believe this will be the case for the first two months of the school year,” Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson said.

The school year begins Aug. 3 as the state contends with surging cases of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic.

Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order that mandated school campuses be closed until Aug. 17, but Gestson says his schools won’t be open for at least the first quarter.

“We will not reopen schools until it is safe, responsible and reasonable to do so,” he said.

RELATED: Phoenix Union high schools will only offer remote learning for the beginning of the school year

Queen Creek Unified School District

The Queen Creek Unified School District Governing Board voted for full-time, in-person instruction to begin at all QCUSD campuses on Monday, August 17. 

In a statement sent to families on August 11, the school district says, "We know the Governing Board’s decision comes with mixed reactions... Our community has unique needs, and the Governing Board was faced with a difficult situation. The Board took into consideration the facts, data, community needs, and mitigation plan and voted to do what they believe is in the best interest of their constituents."

You can find more information on the school district's website.

Scottsdale Unified School District 

The Scottsdale Unified School District announced that students would start the school year on schedule and online Aug. 10, with an enhanced learning model to begin the year.

Campuses will remain closed at least through Sept. 8. And if opened, schools will offer full-time on campus or full-time online options.

Parents and guardians would select a modality option for their students to follow for the first semester. 

Those options are either full-time on campus or full-time online. 

You can find more information here.

Sunnyside Unified School District

The Sunnyside Unified School District said on its website that the reopening plans are being "constantly evaluated as we monitor trends and follow public health guidelines as they relate to Pima County."

The district's schools are expected to reopen on Aug. 5. 

You can find more information here.

Tempe Elementary School District

The Tempe Elementary School District board announced that the school year will begin entirely online starting Aug. 17

A tentative return date for classrooms is also set for Oct. 13.

Parents must also pick up their student's district-issued laptop on Aug. 7 or 8 between 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

You can find more information here.

Tempe Union High School District

The Tempe Union High School District shared its reopening plan, but officials say it will "continue to be refined as we receive stakeholder feedback and guidance from public health agencies on the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic."

You can find more information here.  


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