Officials with Agua Fria Union High School District and associated elementary/middle school districts, Litchfield and Avondale, have been working all summer to determine how best to reopen next month in the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19.
All three school districts formed task forces composed of administrators, faculty, staff and parents, conducted parent surveys and gathered community and student feedback to formulate their reopening plans.
Agua Fria Superintendent Dennis Runyan said the district plans to begin Phase 1 remote learning Monday, Aug. 3 then transition to a Phase 2 hybrid flex schedule as soon as state and federal health officials deem it safe.
“The hybrid flex schedule has 50 percent of the students attending in an alternating day format with remote learning on the opposite days. This allows class sizes and bus ridership to range between 15 to 18 students rather than 28 to 32, for example,” he said. “This allows for six-foot spacing in classrooms, feeding lunch and temperature checks to be feasible at the high school level.”
Under the hybrid flex plan, students instruction would be conducted onsite and remotely on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with school closed on Wednesdays for deep-cleaning.
An full online option will be available to families who don’t want their students to return to school in Phase 2, Mr. Runyan said.
Keeping students, faculty and staff safe will be paramount throughout the reopening process.
“The loss of educators for weeks at a time would not be operationally possible or safe right now,” he said. “I’d ask the public to remember this is currently a marathon public health event and not a sprint. I’ve come to the realization that patience, support, and creativity are the keys to helping the community move safely and actively into the short term educational future.
Agua Fria operates five high schools, Agua Fria, Canyon View, Desert Edge, Millenium and Verrado, serving Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Waddell and parts of Glendale. It also operates two alternative programs, Coldwater and New Directions.
As of mid-July, fall athletics schedules were still in flux, not expected to begin before Monday, Aug. 17. Summer workouts and practices were suspended over the summer as cases in Arizona continued rising, and will resume when deemed safe. “Mr. Runyan said.
He advised parents in the district’s July newsletter to expect several safety measures to be in place once athletic and other events resume, including limited seating, face masks required, social distancing and a cashless payment system.
For more information and updates, visit the district’s website, aguafria.org or Facebook page, @AFUHSD.
Phase 1 distance learning instruction is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Aug. 5 for schools in Litchfield Elementary School District, with in-person learning implemented when public health officials deem it safe for students to return to the classroom.
LESD operates 11 elementary schools and five middle schools serving students in Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear and Litchfield Park. It also provides preschool classes.
On July 7, the district’s governing board approved it’s 2020-21 learning models: In-person learning, Digital Learning Academy and hybrid learning.
“We will send you a Fall 2020 Learning Model Commitment Form so that you may choose which learning model is best for your child,” the district announced on its website. Superintendent Jodi Gunning also hosted two virtual Town Hall sessions to assist parents in deciding which of the three best fits their students’ needs.
“Our life’s work centers on helping children thrive at school and in life. We are so excited to launch this new school year and continue our rich history of educational excellence,” Ms. Gunning stated on the district’s website. “Thank you for partnering with us to connect, educate and empower our Litchfield family and community.
According to the district, the in-person option will feature classes five days per week and:
The Digital Learning Academy option features classes five days per week and:
The hybrid learning option features classes five days per week and:
Special education services will vary by model. In-person learning will see special education services delivered as usual. Under digital learning, the district’s Individual Education Program team will review the student’s IEP to determine if a Free and Appropriate Public Education will be offered, and will review and revised the student’s IEP accommodations section as applicable. Under the hybrid model, services will be delivered in-person or remotely, depending on individual learning priorities and student/staff scheduling.
Open houses are scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 30 for middle school students, and 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, July 31 for elementary students. The district was still deciding whether they would be in-person or virtual and planned to notify parents as soon as a decision was made.
For more information and updates, visit the district’s website, LESD79.org, Facebook page, @LESD79 or Twitter, @LitchfieldESD.
Students in Avondale Elementary School District are scheduled to return Monday, Aug. 3 with a choice of three learning models, in-person, flex and Digital Academy.
The district operates nine schools from preschool through eighth grade, serving students in Avondale and Goodyear.
“We understand that each family has a different level of comfort and each student has different learning needs. Therefore, we understand and are working on different approaches to meet our families’ needs in order to ensure a successful school year for all,” AESD spokeswoman Kenya Vasquez said. “With the additional learning options, our families will choose which model is best for each of their students.”
Students whose families choose the in-person learning model will start the school year in the flex model and will transition to in-person once safe to do so, the district announced on its website.
According to the district, under the in-person option, students will attend their home school five days a week, with early release on Wednesdays, and:
The flex model, which requires students to have internet access, will feature teachers delivering live, real-time instruction at scheduled times daily, allowing students to interact with the teacher and their classmates in all subjects, and:
Students with the need for flexibility can start the year learning at home and then transition back to in-person learning at the end of each quarter, and families may also choose for students to enter the flex model at a later date.
Under the digital option, which also requires internet access and is designed to be a full-year enrollment, students will have scheduled live, real-time and small group instruction with a Digital Academy teacher from one of the district’s school sites, not necessarily from the student’s home school. Students will be able to access their learning at any time of day during the week, at their own pace by actively participating in interactive lessons and learning opportunities. The child’s teacher will monitor and support each child’s progress. It features:
For more information and updates, visit the district’s website, chooseaesd.org or its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, @avondaleesd.
Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or 760-963-1697.