The presentation to the board came a little more than a week after the Arizona Department of Education released guidance to districts on returning for the upcoming school year. The guidance offers districts flexibility and allows them to select the options that best fit the needs of their student population while maintaining student and faculty health during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Craig Gilbert, the district's assistant superintendent of secondary education, and Frank Narducci, the district's assistant superintendent of elementary education, presented the findings of the district's "re-opening and preparedness task force" at the meeting June 10 with four potential paths presented in a variety of different education scenarios. The paths included: opening schools with precautions, such as increased cleaning; open schools with modifications, such as students not attending in-person every day; continued school closure; and schools open and then a closure is called, impacting one or more schools.
Narducci and Gilbert spent the most time during the meeting on the first two options—opening schools with precautions and opening schools with modifications. Parents and guardians would be allowed to select whether a child will return to school in-person or via distance learning. Accommodations would be made for immunocompromised staff who may not be able to work or staff that may not be able to work as they care for family members.
According to data from the district, 65% of parents who responded to a districtwide survey indicated they would send their child back to school July 22 while 27% said "maybe" and 8% said "no" in the survey.
A majority of survey respondents—56%—said they would send their child back to the district for full-time, in-person learning while 34% of respondents said they would have their student participate in a modified program, with some time at school and some time remote learning. Ten percent of respondents were in favor of full-time remote learning from home for the upcoming school year. A majority of parents who responded to the survey also indicated that they are more likely to send their children back to school if employees and students have daily temperature checks.
What could the upcoming school year look like at Chandler USD?
Temperature checks, plexiglass in the front office, staggered schedules, a blend of online and in-person learning and more were presented to the board June 10.
A decision was not made during the meeting by the board on how specifically the district will proceed when schools open July 22.
The in-person model, which was presented under "quadrant 1" of the district's presentation, calls for full-time, in-person classes for students but with modifications to recess, lunch times, extracurricular activities and more.
The hybrid model, which was presented under "quadrant 2" of the district's presentation, calls for either an A/B schedule or an a.m./p.m. schedule, effectively cutting the school population in half for each for that period of time. In the time students were not at the brick-and-mortar school, they would be receiving education via online learning.