Dear PUSD Families,
I write to you during uncertain times, new territory in all of our lives, as this Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) seems to be taking over many aspects of our daily living. I write as your school superintendent, your neighbor, and a fellow parent. Our partnership as educators, parents, and community leaders has been strong through the years, and now faces a great challenge. Together, we will make decisions for our children, based on the information that we have, and we will move forward together as a community. We are listening to your many concerns, turning to health experts in our state and country, and doing our very best to respond with what is best for our children.
Earlier this week, school officials spoke with Governor Doug Ducey, State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman, Director of Arizona Department of Health Services Cara Christ concerning COVID-19, and the best ways for schools to move forward together. PUSD and other Yavapai County school districts are closely conferring with each other. The Director of Yavapai County Community Health Services, Leslie Horton, is in direct contact with us, assisting with our direct questions. At this time, school closures are not recommended by these health experts.
As of this date, PUSD will remain open. We will continue monitoring this decision at every moment. There are multiple considerations involved: student, staff and community well being, concern from those families, staff, and community members, impact of students displaced when schools are closed (including meals), having children in schools versus out in the community (if schools are closed), expert health official recommendations, and much more. We know that it is redundant to state that decisions like this are not arrived at with ease, and that all input is carefully considered.
As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community or school district. We will continue to make prevention plans and decisions concerning health and wellness based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Yavapai County Community Health Services Department, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Arizona Department of Education. For the latest updates on COVID-19 in Arizona, please visit www.azdhs.gov.
The Yavapai County Community Health Service has told us that their office will be opening a phone bank on Monday to handle high call volume and give people a live person to talk to for facts. They offer their website www.yavapai.us/chs for update information and promise that if a COVID-19 test is positive, it will be posted immediately. They also point out a COVID-19 Hotline run by poison control at 1-844-542-8201.
It is important to know that in situations like these, rumors may cause unnecessary reactions and panic, therefore, we are encouraging the community to seek out information from credible sources and medical experts. We are using the following resources:
We have also created a COVID-19 information sheet if you have additional questions (attached to this email and located on this website).
We appreciate your understanding and patience as we continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation. We will continue to post updates on our website as well as on Facebook. Please ensure that your contact information remains current at your student’s school so that we can stay in touch with you via email, telephone, text message.
Please help to keep our students and staff safe by staying informed, practicing good hygiene, and staying home when sick. Education of our children works best when it is a partnership between parents and the schools. When we say “Every Child, Every Day,” we mean it. We mean your child. Together, we can do this.
Joseph W. Howard