Peoria Unified School District will be the only public district in Peoria and Glendale to have classrooms open after winter break in early January.
At its Dec. 10 meeting, the PUSD governing board voted 5-0 to keep classrooms open after winter break “regardless of the benchmark data.”
The same day, Maricopa County updated its school metrics, showing PUSD’s communities in the red—meaning substantial risk—in two of three benchmarks.
On Dec. 17, the county updated data again. This time, PUSD was in the red for all three benchmarks.
PUSD cases per 100,000 jumped from 369 to 582.
According to Maricopa County Department of Public Health, PUSD’s “Recommended learning scenario is virtual with onsite support.”
But districts are not required to follow the recommendations.
On Dec. 17, PUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Reynolds posted on an update on the district website.
“Last week, our governing board made the very difficult decision to continue offering both in-person and virtual environments when we return from winter break. They also requested that we readdress the metrics that we follow to determine when to close our schools to in-person learning so we can continue to keep safety our first priority,” he wrote.
On Dec. 17, the Glendale Elementary School District analyzed the latest information-updated on Thursday—from Maricopa County’s school metrics and decided to extend the online—only model.
GESD classrooms will remain closed through January.
The district’s winter break is Dec. 21 through Jan. 4.
“As we approach winter break, we understand that you are looking for a clear direction regarding our plans for returning after the break,” said a post by Superintendent Cindy Segotta-Jones on the district’s website and Facebook page.
“The Maricopa County Department of Public Health released metrics today indicating that all three benchmarks are in the red for all three of our GESD zip codes.”
One of the benchmarks showed cases per 100,000 in the GESD community soared from 324 the previous week to 540.
“Based on the benchmarks, it is recommended that all GESD schools operate in the virtual learning model with onsite support upon our return from winter break,” Segotta-Jones wrote.
“Onsite will be provided at a limited capacity and does not include student-specific special education services, transportation, modifications or accommodations. GESD will continue to operate under its current virtual work environment upon returning from winter break.”
GESD “must also take into account the potential for increased exposure and transmission of COVID-19 in our communities as we continue planning for metrics updates in January,” according to Segotta-Jones.
“That said, the earliest projected date for a return to school in the hybrid model is Monday, Feb. 1.”
Deer Valley Unified School District will also begin the next semester online when winter break ends.
According to DVUSD, kindergarten through eighth graders will have virtual learning from Jan. 4 through Jan. 15, with students returning to classrooms Jan. 19.
High school students will be in virtual learning for an extra week, with high school classrooms reopening Jan. 25.
At Glendale Union High School District, “All students will continue virtual/remote learning from home on Tuesday, Jan. 5,” according to the latest district information.
The Peoria Unified School District Governing Board’s next scheduled meeting is Jan. 14.