Important Note: This a fluid situation and the decisions we are making today are based on the latest information available. Information may be subject to change based on changes to the situation.
Q: Why are CUSD schools closed from March 16-through the end of the school year?
A: School closures have been announced three times since March 15:
On March 15, 2020 Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman jointly announced the closure of all public schools in Arizona for the time period of March 16-March 27, 2020. For CUSD, we are on Spring Break already from March 16-March 20, 2020, so we are treating the week of March 23-27 as an extended break.
On March 20, 2020, Governor Ducey extended the school closure through April 10, 2020. Arizona and CUSD #24 continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation through the Center for Disease Control and state and local public health agencies. If additional or more extended closures are required we will post those here.
On March 30, 2020 Governor Ducey extended the school closure through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. (May 29, 2020)
Q: Who can I call if I have questions about the extended break?
A: Please call your school for questions about the extended break. Principals have been briefed and will be prepared to field questions. Questions can be answered 8:00 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
CDC – 928.674-9200
CES – 928.674.9300
MVES – 928.674.9800
CJHS – 928.674.9401
CHS – 928.674.9500
MFPS – 928.674-9000
TPS – 928.674-9100
Q: What does Arizona HB 2910 “public school closures; coronavirus disease” require of public schools in Arizona during the school closures due to COVID-19 concerns?
A: There are several key pieces of information in HB2910 that employees need to be aware of. A few of those are listed below.
- If the statewide closure of Arizona public schools is not lifted by March 29, 2020 the bill states that public schools are not required to extend the number of school days or add additional instructional hours after the statewide closure ends.
- Requires, beginning March 30, 2020 each public school to offer students general education opportunities, as determined by the public school, for the duration of the statewide closure. (Sec 1). a) stipulates that this requirement is a condition for the public school to receive continued formula funding.
- Directs public schools to continue offering general educational opportunities until the scheduled end of its posted 2019-2020 school year if the statewide closure is not lifted.
- Specifies that if the statewide closure is lifted before the scheduled end of the public school’s 2019-2020 posted school year calendar, the public school must either:
- Resume physical operations as usual; or
- Continue offering general education opportunities
- Allows the public school to use its transportation fleet to perform school operations that are deemed to support students and their families during the statewide closure, as determined by the public school.
Q: What are the implications of the Navajo Nation Public Health Emergency Order NO. 2020-003 Public Health Emergency Stay at Home (Shelter in Place) Order?
A: There are several key provisions in Order No. 2020-003 that are specific to public education:
- “To mitigate the risk and to preserve the public health and safety, all individuals living on the Navajo Nation must stay home or at their place of residence, except essential workers needed to maintain continuity of operations of the critical infrastructure sectors. (See https://cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors). If you visit this link and go to the “Government Facilities Sector,” you will find preK-12th grade schools listed under the Sector Overview.
- (Page 2-3, Item C, viii) “…Essential Businesses include: Healthcare Operations, Essential Government Functions and Essential Infrastructure (e.g. courts of law, medical providers for urgent care, public utilities, and critical school operations such as nutrition programs):
- viii: Educational institutions – for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that Social Distancing is maintained to the greatest extent possible.
· Page 3, Item C, x) “…Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided or at any other gathering site.
- NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that this Order declaring restrictions based upon the existence of a condition of public health importance shall not abrogate any disease-reporting requirements.
Q: How will CUSD share updates and communications over this extended spring break?
A: We will continue to stay in close communication with the CUSD families, community and staff members during this extended break. We will continue to share messages with families through text blasts, KTNN radio, the digital marque by Chinle High School and our website as needed. Additionally, we will send updates to all staff members through email.
Q: What meal supports will be available to students during the extended break?
A: Food will be available for students in person at 4 sites across CUSD: Canyon de Chelly Elementary School, Chinle High School, Many Farms Elementary School and Tsaile Public School. Food is available for anyone ages one-18 as well as CUSD students beyond the age of 18. Breakfast and lunch will be available for pick up at the same time from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.
Children will need to accompany their parents/guardians one time to be counted for food. At that time the parent/guardian will receive a tag with the number of children in the family on it. Each time after that, children will not need to be present; the parent/guardian will only need to present the tag to collect food.
Food will only be available in grab-and-go packaging to avoid congregating. Students are not allowed to eat on site.
We are also going to continue to provide grocery bags through the Chinle Unified School District partnership with St. Mary’s Food Bank and those grocery bags will be available for pickup at the same locations as the school breakfast and lunches. The grocery bags are only available for CUSD students; one bag per student per month.
Q: What are learning options moving forward?
A: During the week of March 30, 2020 CUSD will begin the process of developing lessons to be delivered via print media to students in order to continue instruction via alternative methods. More updates regarding the timeline and details of this process will be posted during the week of March 23. The school year will not be extended however we will provide instruction through May 29, 2020.
Q: What are the implications for state testing?
A: The statewide assessment has been canceled.
Q: What emotional supports are available to students and families during the extended spring break?
A: We know this can be an anxious and uncertain time for kids and adults alike, and students, family and staff can benefit from information regarding emotional support. Here are some resources from CUSD and state and national resources that could be helpful:
- Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019
- WHO Infographic Helping Children Cope
- National Association of School Psychologists Helping Kids Cope
- Multiple Crisis Hotlines available to any Arizona Citizen
- CUSD employees can access the Jorgensen Brooks Group at 520-575-8623 (toll free, 888-520-5400). Local, in-person clinical appointments can be made Monday through Friday, 8:00am through 4:30pm. Telephone and Internet Chat clinical appointments (45 minutes with licensed therapists) are offered, Monday through Saturday, 5:00am through 6:00pm. Crisis services are available 24 hours/7 days.
- If a guardian or school leader has a staff or student in imminent danger, please call 911
- Why Try’s Family Guide to Resilience – https://resilienceguide.org/
Q: Who can I call if I have a concern that I or someone I know has been exposed?
A: Contact your physician or the Chinle Comprehensive Healthcare Facility at 1-928-674-7994
Q: Will playgrounds that are typically accessible be open during the extended spring break?
A: No. The whole point of the school closures resulting in the extended spring break for CUSD is to reduce the spread of the virus. Shared playground equipment represents another opportunity for the virus to be transmitted. We encourage families to follow the recommendations of medical and public health experts for social distancing and hygiene practices.
Q: What services will be available in schools during this extended break?
This is an extended spring break. As with other spring breaks, we will not be providing instruction, starting on March 16 through the end of the break. Year round employees will work in school and district facilities as needed. Beginning the week of March 30 we will begin the process of developing alternative means of delivering education through print media.
Q: What events will be approved for community use during this extended break?
A: All community use will be canceled Monday, March 16, 2020 through at least May 8, 2020. Note: This is subject to change as conditions in Arizona and/or the community change.
Q: How will CUSD decide when to resume regular school schedules? How far in advance will this be communicated?
A: This is an evolving situation, and CUSD will continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), AZ Department of Health Services (AZDHS), Arizona Department of Education (ADE), AZ Governor’s Office and the Navajo Nation Office of the President. We will share updates when they are available.