Editor’s note: As the pandemic continues to unfold, Kyrene Superintendent Jan Vesely issued a statement relating the safe return to school, now scheduled for Thursday, July 30.
The text of that message follows.
Thank you all for your thoughtful comments, phone calls, messages of support, questions, and concern for your children these past three months.
As we shared with you in our message last week, announcing Kyrene’s framework for a Safe Return to School, our plans are flexible and will continuously evolve to adapt to the trends of the COVID-19 pandemic. All decisions are based on evidence and expertise, not on opinion or ideology.We recognize the need for uniform parameters and considerations that are specific enough to be actionable, but broad enough to be flexible.
Our goal is to safely re-introduce all of our students to a safe, healthy, and engaging learning environment, whether in person or remote.
I would like to share with you an update on Kyrene’s plan regarding face coverings (masks) in schools. Arizona is currently experiencing a surge in community spread of COVID-19.
Based on the increasing rate of infection in Arizona and in Maricopa County, specifically, Kyrene will require face coverings when physical space does not allow students and staff to maintain a safe distance of six feet apart.
This means masks must be worn in classrooms by all students (PreK-8) and staff.
(Exception: Any individual with difficulty breathing or who is incapable of physically removing the mask on his or her own will not be required to wear a face covering. Alternate methods of protection may be discussed.)
Students will not be required to wear face coverings during physical activities and when social distancing is maintainable, though they may voluntarily wear face coverings at any time.
Students may bring their own face coverings to and from school.
A limited supply of face coverings will be available at each school, for unforeseen loss or damage to a student’s face covering.
Plastic face guards will not be required or provided but are permitted.
My team and I are currently working our way through hundreds of messages received in the past week alone, to identify the most commonly asked questions.
You can find new and additional information at kyrene.org/safestrong.
Our website is a responsive platform that can be updated constantly and will always contain the most current and accurate information.
Please bookmark www.kyrene.org/safestrong and check back often for updates.
If your question is not addressed today, please know it has been read and shared with the appropriate design group for consideration.
Thank you for your patience, as Kyrene School District leaders continue to work around the clock to plan for all possible scenarios.
We look forward to having our entire Kyrene family come together, in-person or online, to continue our important mission of student success for all, by providing engaging, challenging educational environments which promote and inspire passion for learning, leading, and achieving transformative life outcomes.
With deep gratitude for your kindness, passion, care, and commitment to returning our children safely to school.