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March 30, 2020

Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman today announced the extension of Arizona school closures through the end of the school year. The extension follows updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and an announcement from the White House extending physical distancing guidelines until April 30, 2020. 
Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman released the following joint statement:
“In alignment with yesterday’s updated federal guidance, today we are announcing the extension of school closures through the remainder of the school year. Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions. While this isn’t the outcome any of us wanted, we are grateful for the partnership of schools around the state, who have stepped up to offer virtual and take-home learning opportunities for our students. These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures. We also thank our legislative partners for passing legislation ensuring all educators and staff see no disruption in pay. Our number one priority will continue to be health and safety, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to make the best decisions for kids, families, and our school communities.”
On March 27, Governor Ducey signed legislation to support schools during closures, ensure school letter grades are held harmless, suspend statewide testing requirements, ensure school days are not extended into the summer, require learning opportunities for students to continue, and ensure teachers and staff see no disruption in pay as a result of COVID-19.
That same week, the Governor joined Superintendent Hoffman to launch Arizona Enrichment Centers, which will offer childcare for first responders, critical healthcare workers, and essential public sector workers, including child safety workers.
Additional information about meals for kids, childcare, special education considerations, learning resources for families and educators and more can be found at azed.gov.
Today’s announcement applies to Arizona public schools, both district and charter. Private schools are required to remain closed in alignment with federal guidance recommending closures through at least April 30, 2020. School leaders have the option of announcing closures through the end of the year, or waiting for additional guidance.

March 23, 2020

Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced Friday that Arizona schools will be closed for two additional weeks– until April 10

The announcement comes five days after the Arizona leaders decided to close schools statewide to help prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus. At the time, Ducey said the decision was made to address staffing shortages and to prioritize the safety of children. Schools were originally going to be closed until March 27.

“Our goal is to get kids safely back in the classroom as soon as possible while providing parents and educators certainty so they can plan and make decisions,” said Governor Ducey. “I’m grateful to Superintendent Hoffman for her continued partnership and leadership. We are unified in our efforts to address COVID-19, and will continue to keep parents and educators informed.”

March 17, 2020 3:30PM

Dear PUSD Families & Friends,

Our teachers are eager to continue learning at home with students. They are highly qualified and ready to implement this new approach with district instructional coaches and leadership. Our approach will be two-fold providing first short-term optional learning activities to do at home while developing a long-term solution for continued classroom instruction should this closure be prolonged.

  1. Teachers and instructional coaches are currently developing at home short-term and long-term learning activities. Look for guidance on this in the next couple days.
  2. We will follow upcoming state direction on all standardized testing for this year. The state plans to request a waiver from the federal government on mandatory testing.
  3. We will also follow anticipated state guidelines on issues such as mandatory days of instruction, any possible extended school year, and high school credit requirements. 
  4. PHS dual credit and AP courses will continue online tomorrow. Students in these courses will be hearing from their teachers regarding continued classwork. 

As a final thought, it’s important to know that this learning will look and feel different and that students and parents should reach out to teachers directly when there are questions about student learning at home. Our goal is to make this as smooth as possible for families.

At PUSD, we are thinkers, and caretakers, and problem solvers. Although online learning cannot always replace hands-on engaging classroom instruction with teachers, we are committed to continue to provide excellent support to students and families. 

March 16, 2020 5:00PM

Dear PUSD Families & Friends,

We thank you for your support and patience as we work on plans for supporting our students and families during the evolving COVID-19 situation. We want to communicate the following decisions with you:

  1. Teachers will spend the next few days assembling specific resources for students to continue learning online and in other ways. We plan to address both shorter-term and longer-term scenarios for mandatory school closures. Please look for information on this soon. In the meantime, we encourage families to have all children continue age-appropriate learning at home by reading books, working on math facts, practicing their instruments, and using online resources such as Khan Academy.

  2. Free daily food service for children aged 18 and under will be available at PUSD schools starting tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17. Families are invited to pick up a bagged breakfast and/or lunch or at Lincoln School or Prescott High School. Drive-up meal pickup will be available Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Children do not need to be in the vehicle to receive meals.

  3. Spring sports seasons for GMS and PMHMS are cancelled. The AIA has cancelled all statewide high school sports competitions for the next two weeks, with the remainder of the season to be evaluated by the AIA thereafter. Scenarios for continuing high school team practices in small groups are under review.

  4. Group practices and performances for school fine arts and other events planned for the next two weeks are cancelled.

  5. We will follow upcoming state direction on all standardized testing this year. The state plans to request a waiver from the federal government on mandatory testing for this year.

  6. We will also follow anticipated state guidelines on issues such as mandatory days of instruction, any possible extended school year, and high school credit requirements. Currently, we plan to hold Prescott High School graduation in the traditional format on our planned date. We will only adjust if this becomes mandated by the state. We recognize that this is a completely unprecedented situation, and we will be as flexible as we can be, based on how circumstances unfold.

We will continue to monitor statewide and local developments over the next several days, and will continue to keep you informed as we have additional information to share. We are grateful for the support of our community as we all work together to face this unique challenge. We will get through this by doing what we do best in Prescott: working together.

March 15, 2020 1:00PM
By this time, our Prescott Community knows that many of our area schools are closed due to the large scale concerns of the COVID-19 virus. The decisions made around this are some of the trickiest decisions we have ever made together as a community. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your patience and understanding as we embark into this new territory together. Like so many times before, I cannot help but recognize how fortunate we are to have such an amazing, generous and supportive community, in which to do the important
business of educating our kids.

We are all doing our best work to protect the health and safety of our children and this community that surrounds them, nurtures them, and prepares them to be the leaders of our future. In the Prescott Unified School District alone, we have 850 volunteers, many of which are retirees. In times like this where we are all facing fear and the unknown, we are somewhat forced to reflect on the full circle structure of how all of the generations and age groups in a community like Prescott need each other. In the circumstance of this unpredictable virus, we are all focussing on ways to keep the virus from spreading. There are an overwhelming amount of unanswered questions right now. What kind of burden do all of these closures put on families? How will we ensure that no one goes hungry? What
will happen to teacher and staff pay? How do we continue learning? How long? This is just the beginning of the list. Rest assured that people are working on these questions and more around the clock, and as you read this. We will continue to do our best to communicate what we know, when we know it.

No surprise, the most frequent question we are hearing from our supportive community is, “How can we help?” Stand by for multiple answers to that question. We will get through this by doing what we do best in Prescott: working together.


March 15, 2020
Letter from Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman

March 14, 2020 5:00PM
Dear PUSD Families,

 

After carefully monitoring the latest developments in the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, including a national declaration of emergency, and considering the extensive input of parents, teachers and staff, we have made the decision to close all Prescott Unified School campuses to students and the public, effective Monday, March 16. This closure will remain in effect through at least Friday, March 27.

Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yavapai County, we realize there is great concern among our stakeholders about how this could spread in our schools, and ultimately to the greater community, despite all of the measures taken and planned for the future. Today’s decision, although very difficult, is being made in consideration of the overall health of our community.

This is new territory for everyone, and we realize quite clearly that there are many unanswered questions. We are working as quickly as possible to answer those questions with all of our partners and resources in the next few days. Our PUSD Governing Board supports this decision and is appreciative of the community that helped guide this decision. In addition to closing all schools to students and the public, the following measures are also taking place:

• All after school clubs and athletics are cancelled until further notice.
• All school-related events including athletic games and fine arts performances are cancelled until further notice.
• Preschool and daycare programs are cancelled until further notice.
• We are working on providing food options for families, and will provide more information soon.
• CTED classes will continue in an online format until further notice.

Despite this adversity, we are committed to continuing to deliver high-quality instruction for which PUSD has been known for more than 150 years. District leadership is meeting to define additional details for our staff. Future developments will continue to be communicated through email, our website, and Facebook. We appreciate your patience as we navigate this unprecedented public health challenge.

Sincerely,
Joe Howard
Superintendent


March 14, 2020 10:00AM


Click the above graphic for the PUSD COVID-19 Information Sheet


March 14, 2020: 9:00 AM
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 resources listed on the bottom of this page.

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.

Sincerely,

Joseph W. Howard
Superintendent

COVID 19 Info Sheet


March 13, 2020
What we know is that when we’re there for each other, we’re at our best. We are asking families to understand we are continuing to work closely with the health experts at the state and county health departments, as well as the Governor’s Office and the State Department of Education for the safety of our community. We do not take these decisions lightly, and we are listening to your concerns and thoughtfully considering each of them.

We respect the decisions of parents to keep their children home. We have been told repeatedly by health officials that the best thing to do is look for symptoms and send students home if they develop. This is their professional guidance. If you choose to keep your children home due the concerns regarding COVID19, please let your children’s schools know so that they are not penalized for incentives related to attendance. We will continue to do our best for Every Child, Every Day in our community.


March 12, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear PUSD Parents, Guardians, and Staff,

Today, several school superintendents participated in a conference call with Governor Doug Ducey, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director Dr. Cara Christ. Currently, the ADHS is NOT recommending school closures or the cancellation of after school activities including athletics and concerts. Any future decisions regarding school closures will be made in consultation with local health officials as we continue to work closely with the Yavapai County Health Department.

Student and staff safety is of the highest concern for Prescott Unified School District.  We are asking all students and staff experiencing any symptoms of illness to follow regular illness protocols which include staying home until all symptoms subside for a period of 72 hours.

Our maintenance staff provided a deep cleaning of our school sites over this break. When we return to school next week, we will continue to provide daily disinfecting of classrooms and all high traffic areas and encourage students to wash their hands frequently.

As information changes, we will provide regular updates on our website and social media. In the meanwhile, stay safe and keep washing those hands!


Links for more information:
Yavapai County Health Services
Arizona Dept. of Health Services
Guidance to Schools on COVID-19
Center for Disease Control
Maricopa County Health Services – Coronavirus Information
AZ Department of Education
State of Arizona

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