FAQs Returning to Distance Learning on 11/23
Q: How was the decision made to return to distance learning on 11/23?
The Governing Board met on November 10th at 6PM and discussed the following information:
- The rise in positive COVID-19 cases across our community, county, and state.
- Data related to the benchmarks provided from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to determine the level of spread in our community,
- The number of schools/classrooms having to close due to outbreaks since our district returned to in-person learning,
- Data related to student and staff absences/illness and the challenges of finding substitute coverage for a variety of employees, and
- Guidance from ADHS about when to consider returning to distance learning.
- In a unanimous vote, the Board agreed the time was right to start planning for return to distance learning with a start date of 11/23 and end date of 1/18.
Q: Why did the Board decide to return to distance learning on 11/23 and not right away?
- The number of positive COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
- It is anticipated the number of cases and percent positivity will be in the substantial spread category in the next week or so (the county and district data we see is "lagging" and pre-dates any release day by two weeks).
- The holiday season is forecasted to increase the number of positive cases due to family gatherings.
- The Board also wanted to provide time for our systems, teachers, families, and students to prepare for the shift to distance learning.
Q: What data is looked at regularly?
- ADHS releases daily data related to the number of positive cases, the percent positive, and COVID-like illnesses. These can be drilled down to the county level.
- Our district also looks at the daily rate of positive cases by zip code.
- Our district gets a weekly report indicating the level of community spread for the 6 zip-codes our district encompasses.
- Student and Employee attendance reports are examined
- School and classroom closures (returning to distance learning due to a positive case or outbreak)
- Current cases of students/staff who have tested positive for COVID-19
Q: How often does CGESD monitor data?
- Student and staff attendance is monitored twice daily
- Trends related to new cases of COVID-19 are monitored daily at the city, county, and state level
- Newly confirmed cases (staff or students attending CGESD) are updated daily.
Q: What exactly are the benchmarks?
*They are reported with a 2-week delay.
Q: What role does Pinal Public Health play in the distribution of data?
- Pinal Public Health sends out a weekly report of new positive cases for school districts in our county.
- They also send out individual district reports encompassing the zip codes in each district.
Q: How do we find data specific to our district?
- Visit our website data dashboard
Q; Why look at attendance data?
- When multiple students are missing school, introducing new content is difficult. When the teacher introduces new content, catching absent students up is the challenge.
- Due to COVID-19, the requirements for individuals who are sick to stay home are more stringent, which results in more absence for longer periods of time.
- Substitute coverage is a major concern for our district. We currently have 12 substitute teachers for 13 schools, 0 nurse substitutes, 0 custodial substitutes, and 2 bus driver substitutes. It is common for district office leaders to substitute for many of the positions at schools. However,there are a limited number of certified leaders in the district office.
- In unique scenarios, the absence of an individual can paralyze our system. For example, if one of our diesel mechanics tests positive for COVID-19, all of our diesel mechanics would likely have to quarantine, and chances are, a few other members of our transportation team would need to quarantine as well. This could make transporting our learners unsafe or impossible.
- CGESD temporarily increased the daily rate of pay for substitutes for coverage during COVID-19, yet this has not yet resulted in a net increase of substitutes.
- Positions for which substitutes are needed in order to ensure the safe operation of our schools: teachers, paraprofessionals, office assistants, bus drivers, custodians, nurses, crossing guards, nurses, and many other key positions.
Q: Why has the structure of my student’s distance learning day changed?
- We need to meet state required instructional minutes for learning to ensure that students are exposed to all grade level content and standards during the 2020-2021 school year.
Q: What on-site supports are available for students during distance learning?
- The Boys & Girls Club of the Sun Corridor is offering supervision for distance learning
- The CG Alliance is offering supervision for distance learning
Q: Where are the on-site supports located and how do I enroll?
- The Boys & Girls Club is using our facilities at Palo Verde and Mesquite Elementary Schools. They also have another location at their Nap Lawrence Branch. Enrollment is required. Contact them at (520) 876-5437.
- The Learning Hubs through CG Alliance will have locations at CGMS, Cactus, and Villago Middle Schools. They are open for daily drop-ins. Enrollment is not required at this time but daily capacities based on staffing will be established and published.
Q: Why can you offer on-site supports, but can’t offer in-person learning?
- This support is a requirement through the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-41.
- Supervision is required during normal school hours.
- Service may be interrupted if Public Health declares an outbreak.
Q: How was the 1/19 return date decided?
- Pinal Public Health provided guidance and made a recommendation about our anticipated return date.
- It offers a period of two full school weeks after the New Year holiday when families typically gather for celebrations.
Q: I don’t have access to the internet for distance learning, what do I do?
- Visit a “Learning Hub” near you for free internet access and on-site support services
- Apply for a CGESD Internet Stipend to help off-set the cost of internet service
- Contact a no or low price internet service provider to establish internet service
- Call your neighborhood school to determine eligibility/availability of a mobile hotspot