Chandler USD votes to offer temporary virtual option for students post-holiday break

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 update from Chandler USD. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 update from Chandler USD. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Here is a look at the latest COVID-19 update from Chandler USD. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Chandler USD governing board voted Dec. 9 to develop a plan to temporarily expand students' virtual learning option through Google Meet for students in grades 7-12 beginning Jan. 5 through Jan. 15.

This means CUSD teachers will teach from the classroom—where students will be present—and broadcasting through Google Meet live to students whose families elected to keep them home immediately following the holidays. Board member Lindsay Love abstained from the vote, but the other board members unanimously approved the plan. The vote came after the state, county and city have seen increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases daily.

The plan was not drafted by CUSD staff, but was presented by outgoing board member David Evans after he said he spoke with teachers, administrators, parents and school staff.

Evans said he hoped this would be a starting point for the new board to further tackle the issue of virtual learning. He also said he wanted the district to get back to having a sense of community and camaraderie.

"We've actually really worked together for decades," Evans said. "That's why we are this district. That's why we have been so successful. That's why people have come here."


Superintendent Camille Casteel said during the meeting that she knows not everyone will be happy with the board and the district's decisions.

"I always find myself at a loss for words; based on my emails right now, we have disappointed a lot of people," Casteel said. "A lot are celebrating and a lot are frustrated as it has been with every other decision we have made since March. There is just absolutely no win. Our five board members are well intentioned—and my cabinet and the administration and the teaching ranks—we don't agree with each other, but I know we are all well intentioned. I'm sorry that we've disappointed some of our staff and families. It's not like we wake up in the morning and say, 'How can we upset people today?'"

Love abstained from the vote and during the discussion said she felt that the district needed a plan to address the spike in cases that would occur after the holidays. She said the parents who travel and will be gathering will not be the parents to opt out of in-person schooling.

"This is us kicking the can down the road again; we don't even have a plan," Love said.

Board member Lara Bruner said she was disappointed that there was not a more robust plan to address climbing case counts.

"We know what we are doing is wrong," Bruner said. "We know that we should be following the metrics of the county. The metrics say we should be virtual, and we aren't even hybrid right now. As usual, I am disheartened. ... We are not following the science."

The Maricopa County Department of Public Health dashboard for reopening schools has CUSD in the "substantial risk" category for COVID-19 spread. The county recommendation, according to the dashboard, is that the district prepare for virtual learning with on-site support for students who need it.

Katie Nash, president of the Chandler Education Association representing the teachers and support staff of the district, asked during the meeting that people continue to stay home and wear their masks.

"For most of us, we are getting by right now, but it's just a lot," Nash said of teaching and accommodating students who are attending class via Google Meet while quarantining after a potential COVID-19 exposure. "We keep hearing one more thing, one more thing. We are reaching the point of it being too much to add another thing."


MOST RECENT

Goldfish Swim School anticipates opening June 15 in Gilbert. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
3 businesses coming soon to Gilbert; Higley USD puts bond on ballot and more top area news

Read the latest business and community news from the past week from the Gilbert and Chandler areas.

Chandler City Hall is in downtown Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler City Council to hold public hearing on proposed budget, vote on it June 10

Chandler City Council will host a public hearing on the city's proposed $1.06 billion budget during a meeting June 10 before voting on the budget proposal.

Between January and April, the Maricopa County Assessor's Office reported 19,232 permits for home construction work, according to the county. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Home construction projects on the rise across Maricopa County

Home construction permits are seeing a sharp increase across Maricopa County, according to data from the Maricopa County Assessor's Office.

As of June 7, 6,016,915 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 3,385,174 individuals, including 2,884,332 who are now fully vaccinated. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
ADHS: Nearly 3 million Arizonans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

More than 3.4 million Arizonans have receieved at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to ADHS.

Picazzo's Healthy Italian Kitchen will open June 3 in Gilbert. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Picazzo's restaurant opens in Gilbert; Chandler council calls for bond election and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Gilbert and Chandler areas.

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced June 3 that state-run vaccination sites will be phased out by the end of June. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Arizona state-run vaccination sites to close by June 28

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced June 3 that state-run vaccination sites will be phased out by the end of June.

Chandler is celebrating Independence Day with a “drive-in” July 4 fireworks event at Tumbleweed Park. (Courtesy city of Chandler)
Chandler to host July 4 fireworks with drive-in celebration

Chandler is celebrating Independence Day with a “drive-in” July 4 fireworks event at Tumbleweed Park.

Chandler Fashion Center is in the city of Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler Fashion Center to host job fair June 5

The event is located at 3111 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, at the Pottery Barn entrance of the mall.

Gila River Hotels & Casinos announced May 27 that Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva are "elevating the gaming experience" by offering guests a new way to enjoy casino games from the comfort of their own homes. (Courtesy Gila River Hotels & Casinos)
Gila River Hotels & Casinos announces new online, social casino

Gila River Hotels & Casinos announced May 27 that Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva are "elevating the gaming experience" by offering guests a new way to enjoy casino games from the comfort of their own homes.

More than 3.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to Maricopa County residents, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Nearly 43% of all Maricopa County residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine

More than 3.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered to Maricopa County residents, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Chandler City Hall is in downtown Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler City Council calls for bond election in November, adopts tentative budget, approves several agreements

Chandler City Council called for a special bond election to be held in November and approved the city's tentative budget during a meeting May 27.