Important Update - Plan for Reopening Schools

Dear Gilbert Public Schools parents and families,

Last night, Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board met for a special governing board meeting.  The meeting was called specifically to review health benchmarks and reopening plans.  This email includes key information from the meeting as an important update for our parents and families.  Please expect further communications, including more detailed information regarding Hybrid and the reopening plan, in due course.   

Please note, a previously approved governing board motion provides district leadership direction, authority, and support to plan for reopening schools safely in line with health benchmark data.  At this time, the district will move forward with the reopening plan shared at last night’s meeting. Schools will reopen for in-person instruction with a hybrid model September 8, and for full-time in-person instruction September 21, contingent upon meeting the health benchmarks, which we anticipate we will meet. Students who do not wish to return in-person will have the option to continue to learn full-time online through GPS Global Academy.  Click here to view the meeting.

Health Benchmarks Overview

The Governing Board reviewed both the Arizona Department of Health (ADH) benchmarks and the Maricopa County Health benchmarks.  The Maricopa County Health benchmarks have been provided at the request of ADH and the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to inform school district decision making.  Both can be viewed using the links below:

During the meeting it was highlighted that, if the data continues to trend in the current direction, GPS will progress to yellow and then green over the next few weeks.  ADH and ADE recommend the following:

  • When a district reaches yellow benchmarks, a Hybrid option can be delivered safely.  The Hybrid model, as determined by the ADE, consists of students learning in the classroom on some days, and from home on other days.
  • When a district reaches the green benchmarks, full-time in person school can be delivered safely, with mitigating strategies in place.

GPS Reopening Plan

A reopening plan was presented to the Governing Board at last night’s board meeting.  Click here to view the presentation.

Timeline for Reopening Schools

The timeline below has been created to communicate the district plan for a phased approach to reopening schools, in accordance with the health benchmark data and guidelines, as provided by ADH, ADE, and Maricopa County Health.  Please note, the timeline is dependent upon the data continuing to trend in the current direction, and the district moving from red, to yellow, to green as per health benchmarks.

  • Parent Selection of In-Person OR Full-time Online - August 21 - 24
  • Student Enrollment and Scheduling / Staff Reassignments - August 25 - September 4
  • Hybrid In-Person AND Full-time Online - September 8 - 18
  • Full-time In-Person AND Full-time Online - September 21

FAQS

Please note, these FAQs will be posted on our district website and will continue to be updated.

Qu: Where can I view the Reopening Plan presented to the Governing Board last night?

The presentation is posted in the board meeting agenda.  Click here to view.

Qu: What data is the district using for decision making?

The Maricopa County Health benchmarks have been provided at the request of Arizona Department of Health and the Arizona Department of Education to inform school district decision making, along with state-wide data.

Qu: Why does this revised reopening plan only include in-person or online as student learning model options?

In June 2020, the GPS Task Force proposed and offered a choice of three options for returning to school.  As circumstances changed over the following months, with the delay of in-person school and a range of directives from the state and local levels, these three learning models have been reviewed for effectiveness and feasibility.  It has been determined it is not possible for the district to continue to offer Flex Elementary due to staffing issues as a result of low enrollment in this learning model.  Please note, with the move to Hybrid and then full-time in person, as a direct response to the health benchmark data, it is anticipated that the options of in-person or Full-time Online will meet the needs of our families and students.  Secondary Flex/partial-day options will still be available for secondary students, as these were in existence at our high schools previous to COVID-19. We have added this option to our junior high schools this year and will continue to do so, offering our families 7-12 the same flexibility.

Qu: What strategies are in place to minimize potential spread of COVID-19 on campuses?

Please visit our website using the following links for information on the extensive measures already in place on our campuses:

Qu: How long will Hybrid be offered?

At this time, Hybrid will be offered September 8-18, contingent upon health benchmark data. 

Qu: When will we be able to select either in-person or online?

Parents will receive communication with the opportunity to select either in-person (Hybrid 09/08 - 09/18 transitioning to full-time in-person on 09/21) OR full-time online (GPS Global Academy).  It is anticipated parents will make their selection August 21-24.  Further communication on how this process will work will be shared with families prior to August 21.  Families will need to commit to their choice for at least the remainder of the fall semester in order for appropriate staffing at school sites and GPS Global Academy.

Qu: What is being offered for special education students?

Further communication will follow with specific information for our special education students and their families.

Gilbert Public Schools

 

 

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