East Valley Schools Update Due to COVID-19

Education in the East Valley will look a bit different this 2020-21 school year, with information rapidly evolving according to Gov. Doug Ducey’s COVID-19 announcements. School districts are responding with flexible, modified instruction plans with the goal of keeping students and staff safe and healthy. As of June 29, Gov. Doug Ducey announced Arizona schools will delay reopening for in-person classes this year until at least Aug. 17 because of the global pandemic.

With that in mind, parents are reminded that Arizona has one of the most liberal open enrollment policies in the country. Parents can apply for their children to attend any public school for kindergarten through 12th grade, no matter where they live. Valley school leaders offer parents choices so they can choose what works best for their individual situation.

Below we have listed below the latest information, as of mid-July 2020, from East Valley public and charter schools near Cadence at Gateway. Please keep in mind information changes daily, so visit the individual websites for the most current updates.

Queen Creek Unified School District

“Online learning begins for all QCUSD K–12 students on August 3, 2020. Online learning will continue until Governor Ducey approves students return to the classroom. When students are allowed back in the classroom, we will provide a safe and positive learning environment with the typical structures and routines that children thrive in. If you are a QCUSD student and want to go back into the classroom once buildings are open – no action is necessary – you are set to return to the classroom.

If you want to continue learning remotely when classrooms are open to students, register for the Queen Creek Virtual Academy.

It is the Queen Creek Unified School District’s collective goal to have a thoughtful reopening plan that strikes a balance between the health concerns posed by COVID-19 and the needs of students and our community. Decisions will be made in collaboration with the governing board, superintendent, and in coordination with local public health organizations.”

Mesa Public Schools

“On June 29, Governor Doug Ducey postponed in-school learning until at least August 17, due to COVID-19. Mesa Public Schools will begin our school year August 4 with structured, remote learning for all. Remote learning will continue until it is safe to transition into modified in-person learning and ultimately in-person learning. Parents will always have the choice to remain in the remote learning model.

The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to school campuses. Our plan incorporates recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arizona and Maricopa County health departments, Arizona Department of Education, and state and local guidelines.

It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making as we move to open our schools.”

Please visit mpsaz.org/reopen for updates, and reach out anytime via email at reopen@mpsaz.org.

Gilbert Public Schools, Gilbert Classical Academy

To promote a healthy and supported beginning to the school year, Gilbert Public Schools is offering several learning options for families beginning August 5-17:

  • Full-Time In-Person Learning On-Campus
  • Flex Options (In-Person, On-Campus, and Online)
  • GPS Global Academy Online

“Following Governor Ducey’s Executive Order (06/29/20) announcing that school cannot start in-person until at least August 17, 2020, but can begin online on the original start date, Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board approved to start school on the original date of August 5, 2020, online, transitioning students to our campuses on or after August 17, 2020.

  • For those students that select GPS Global Academy (full-time online) for their return to school learning model, school will begin August 5th online using GPS Global Academy.
  • For students that select Flex or In-person On Campus for their return to school learning models school will begin August 5 online and on or after August 17 these students will transition back to our campuses and their chosen learning model. During the eight days of online learning, students will be working with their classroom teacher(s) and classmates. Online learning will be interactive and led by their GPS teacher. It will not be the same as remote learning delivered at the end of the last school year.

All grades 7-12 students automatically get a Chromebook and those elementary students who need a Chromebook will be able to check one out from their school.

Higley Unified School District

“Higley Unified School District will start the 2020-2021 school year following our current calendar on July 27, 2020. This decision allows us to maintain our fall, winter, and spring breaks as scheduled. We know that many families plan on these times and we want to be as consistent as possible and not change our previously approved calendar.

Governor Ducey’s Executive Order will not allow in-person learning until at least August 17, and it is very possible that this date may be extended. This will require that our instruction for all students will begin remotely on July 27.

Higley Unified School District created a new online page with all information for families regarding the opening of school for the 2020-2021 school year. Families can find communication, health & protocols information, instructional model information and more. Please visit the Higley Schools 2020-2021 Opening website for information.”

East Valley Institute of Technology, EVIT

“Our EVIT board members realize that some of us are in situations that heighten our concerns about COVID-19. At the same time, our board also realizes that the students we serve are not served well in an online setting. EVIT is simply not built or staffed for an ideal online learning opportunity. EVIT is where students go to receive extended hands-on training they need to prepare for college and careers. This is what sets our career and technical education programs apart from the programs students can take at their high school. So, with that in mind:

  • The board agreed that EVIT will start school online on Aug. 10 and continue online only until Gov. Doug Ducey reopens school campuses.
  • The board agreed that EVIT will use the week of Aug. 3-7 for faculty and staff to practice safety protocols and give us time to build our temporary online courses.
  • The board agreed that EVIT will NOT continue with online options after our campuses reopen.
  • The board agreed that EVIT will start school on campus on or after Aug. 17 for most of its Adult Education programs.

While EVIT can temporarily deliver online content, we are not well equipped to offer extended

online learning because of the hands-on nature of our programs. In addition, unlike our high

school partners, we do not have the resources to offer on-campus and online instruction

concurrently.”

Basis Charter Schools

“In light of Governor Ducey’s new executive order delaying in-person school instruction until at least August 17, 2020, BASIS Charter Schools in Arizona plan to begin instruction 100% online on the regularly scheduled first day of school. We plan to return to our ‘Families Choose in 2020-21’ program, with parents indicating whether they would prefer to have their students receive instruction in-person or via distance learning, as soon as the State permits.”

The Basis Charter Schools’ Families Choose Plan:

  • Key Components to the BASIS 2020–21 plan — Flexibility and Parent Options! Whether you want your child to be fully on campus or distance learning at home…it is your choice in 2020–21.
  • You can change your mind, and change it back, during the year.
  • In these uncertain times, BASIS.ed and BASIS Charter Schools believe that families need the flexibility to decide for themselves whether on campus education or distance learning is best for their children. The same high-achieving BASIS Charter School Curriculum is available both in person and via distance learning.

Heritage Academy Gateway

Heritage Academy Gateway is one of Arizona’s top public charter school programs known for high standards, award-winning academics, and supportive administration.

For specific information regarding the 2020-21 school year, contact

Gateway/Queen Creek: GatewayCommunication@heritageacademyaz.com, Gateway: 480-461-4400

American Leadership Academy

Online Learning Option and In-Person Option to begin on or after Aug. 17.

“Last week, Governor Ducey announced that in-person learning cannot resume until August 17. Staying true to our commitment to you to begin school as normally as possible, we will begin both our Online and In-Person Learning options no earlier than August 17.

The enrollment window for Online Learning opens July 8. If you have chosen this option for your child(ren), an enrollment application must be completed for each child. If you have chosen In-Person Learning, no other action is required.

Should Governor Ducey delay the physical opening of schools beyond August 17, ALA will consider having all students begin Online Learning starting August 17. Once Governor Ducey allows schools to reopen campuses, students may choose to return to campus or continue online learning with a commitment to participate for a full quarter.

We believe it is in the best interest of the families of ALA to have their children back in school as soon as possible. We are making every effort to make this happen. If you believe the same, please make your voice heard and contact the Governor’s office and state legislatures.”

For additional information and to enroll in Online Learning, please visit www.alaschools.org/back-to-school.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said:

”While our coming school year will also look different from years past, and as the entire world grapples with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I take heart knowing that our schools will continue to be bedrocks of support, comfort, and stability.”

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