Parker schools will begin the 2020-21 year on August 3rd with at least two weeks of distance learning.
The Parker Unified School District Governing Board approved a re-opening plan last Wednesday authorizing Superintendent Brad Sale to proceed with one of three options for learning, depending on the severity of the COVID-19 virus in the community.
“Our Number One priority is to make sure our children are as safe as possible given these difficult circumstances,” Sale said. “We also recognize that a return to school in one form or another is crucial to their social and academic well-being.”
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently issued an executive order delaying the start of in-person schooling statewide until August 17th. Sale announced that Parker Unified would begin school August 3rd with distance learning, the first of the three options authorized by the Board.
“After August 17th, we will determine how to proceed from there,” Sale said. “Much will depend on the level of community spread of the virus at that time.”
In addition to distance learning, the Governing Board approved two other options for possible use during the school year, including the ‘traditional model’ in which all students can attend school Monday through Friday, but with staggered start times. The traditional model can be utilized when community spread is considered low to mild, Sale said.
“Because we are limiting the amount of students on each bus, we have to adjust our start times,” Sale said.
The third option, a hybrid model, would be used if community spread is considered mild to moderate. Parker Unified students would be divided into two cohorts depending on their last name. Students with a last name starting with A-L will attend Cohort A on Monday and Tuesday, and students with a last name of M-Z will attend Cohort B on Wednesday and Thursday. The Cohorts will switch every other Friday.
“When it is determined that children are permitted to return to school in person, social distancing, safety and cleanliness will be promoted heavily throughout our campuses,” Sale said.
Starting August 3rd, teachers will begin contacting parents at home to schedule individual appointments on campus. At this time, parents and students will have a chance meet their teachers and receive more details about the distance learning program. Parents will also be asked to complete a school demographic packet.
Sale stressed that distance learning in Parker Unified will be much different from what was used last spring after the COVID-19 virus surfaced. The demographic packet will include a technology questionnaire.
“Students will receive instruction from their teachers via the internet, and their work will be graded,” Sale said. “Right now, we are busy trying to find out what our students need in regards to technology.”
Parents who have questions or concerns are encouraged to contact their school principal.