Below is the letter sent to staff and families by email on Sept. 23.
Dear Amphitheater Families:
The Amphitheater School District plans to reopen in a hybrid model of in-person learning starting on Oct. 12. This model will allow students to attend smaller classes, in-person, two days a week and participate in remote learning three days a week. Find more information at https://www.amphi.com/Page/22795.
We have a few important items to share with you:
- Letters containing cohort assignments for your child or children and other information will be mailed out on Friday. Look for yours in your U.S. mail early next week. If you have questions after you receive your letter, please contact your school.
- We recognize that some families may be reconsidering their options for online and in-person learning
- If your children are in the Remote by Necessity (Hybrid on Oct. 12) and you wish to move them into Amphi Academy Online for full-time online learning, please contact your home school no later than noon on Sept. 29. Staff will help you through the process.
- If your children are in Amphi Academy Online and you wish to move them into Remote by Necessity (Hybrid on Oct. 12) please contact your home school no later than noon on Sept. 29, and staff will help you with the process.
- If your students will remain in the programs they are in currently, you don’t need to do anything.
If you are making a change, please contact your home school no later than Noon on Tuesday, Sept. 29, to initiate the process. This is important so that we can staff our classes and programs effectively. After the deadline, we cannot promise we can make the change until the semester break.
If you have questions or need help making your decision, please contact your home school principal. You can find more information about Amphi Academy Online at www.amphi.com/amphiacademy.
You can find information about steps the District is taking to keep students and staff healthy and safe at https://www.amphi.com/Domain/4949. In addition to the measures mentioned on the Reopening webpage, schools are taking additional steps based on their campus layouts and campus needs.
We will also be sharing informational quick guides for students, families and staff members later this week that outline our procedures for handling illnesses and positive Covid-19 cases on campus. Please be assured that we will continue to work directly with local and state health officials to determine the correct actions to take to protect our community.
Estimadas familias del Amphitheater:
El Distrito Escolar Amphitheater planea reabrir en un modelo híbrido de aprendizaje en persona a partir del 12 de octubre. Este modelo permitirá a los estudiantes asistir a clases más pequeñas, en persona, dos días a la semana y participar en aprendizaje remoto tres días a la semana. Encuentre más información en https://www.amphi.com/Page/22795.
Tenemos que compartir con usted algunos asuntos importantes:
- Las cartas que contienen asignaciones de cohortes para su hijo o hijos y otra información se enviarán por correo el viernes. Busque el suyo en su correo postal a principios de la próxima semana. Si tiene preguntas después de recibir su carta, comuníquese con su escuela.
- Reconocemos que algunas familias pueden estar reconsiderando sus opciones para el aprendizaje en línea y en persona.
- Si sus hijos están en Remote by Necessity (híbrido el 12 de octubre) y desea trasladarlos a Amphi Academy Online para que aprendan en línea a tiempo completo, comuníquese con su escuela local antes del mediodía del 29 de septiembre. El personal lo ayudará usted a través del proceso.
- Si sus hijos están en Amphi Academy Online y desea trasladarlos a Remote by Necessity (híbrido el 12 de octubre), comuníquese con su escuela local antes del mediodía del 29 de septiembre, y el personal le ayudará con el proceso.
- Si sus estudiantes permanecerán en los programas en los que se encuentran actualmente, no es necesario que haga nada.
Si está haciendo un cambio, comuníquese con su escuela local a más tardar el mediodía del martes 29 de septiembre para iniciar el proceso. Esto es importante para que podamos dotar de personal a nuestras clases y programas de manera eficaz. Después de la fecha límite, no podemos prometer que podamos hacer el cambio hasta el break del semestre.
Si tiene preguntas o necesita ayuda para tomar una decisión, comuníquese con el director de su escuela local. Puede encontrar más información sobre Amphi Academy Online en www.amphi.com/amphiacademy.
Puede encontrar información sobre las medidas que está tomando el Distrito para mantener a los estudiantes y al personal sanos y seguros en https://www.amphi.com/Domain/4949. Además de las medidas mencionadas en la página web Reopening (Reapertura), las escuelas están tomando medidas adicionales según la distribución y las necesidades de su campus.
También compartiremos guías informativas rápidas para estudiantes, familias y miembros del personal a finales de esta semana que describen nuestros procedimientos para ocuparse de enfermedades y casos positivos de Covid-19 en el campus. Tenga la seguridad de que continuaremos trabajando directamente con los funcionarios de salud locales y estatales para determinar las acciones correctas a tomar para proteger a nuestra comunidad.
Udpate on Reopeniing Proposal: Hybrid model
Sept. 15, 2020
Dear Amphitheater Families and Staff:
The Amphitheater Governing Board will be reviewing a revised reopening plan at their meeting tomorrow, Sept. 15. The plan recommends schools open in a hybrid model on Oct. 12.
While we had hoped public health conditions would continue to improve enough to permit opening fully on that date, the Pima County Health Department reported differently today. In a meeting with superintendents and charter school leaders, health officials said conditions throughout October will allow for a hybrid reopening, but not a return to full in-person learning.
In addition, we received feedback from many people after we announced our October 12 reopening. Families and staff expressed concerns about the need for social distancing relative to class sizes. Our hybrid approach enables us to reduce in-person class sizes without reducing student learning.
We recognize the need for a balance between getting students back in school and doing so safely. We believe our plan does both.
You can find the proposal to the Governing Board on the agenda in the Board Book: https://meetings.boardbook.org/Public/Organization/2065
Update from the Superintendent: Pima County health metrics and sports recommendations
September 8, 2020
Dear Amphitheater Staff and Families:
The latest information from both the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Pima County Health Department continue to show improvements in the public health metrics, suggesting that we are still on track to reopen schools for “regular” learning after our Fall Break, on October 12. The improvements made in our public health metrics and the most recent guidance from the Arizona Interscholastics Association also demonstrate that we are very close to a moment when athletics can resume. In preparation for these potentials and to provide an opportunity for your input into the same, we will be issuing a brief survey this week to both families and staff members. We hope that you will watch for this survey and participate.
Next Tuesday, September 15, I will be submitting an updated reopening plan to the District’s Governing Board to include a specific calendar and methodology for reopening. I will also be presenting a proposal that Amphitheater athletic teams begin practices on Sept. 21, while adhering to appropriate health and safety guidelines and assuming continuing progress in our public health metrics. Actual athletic competitions would thereafter become possible the week after fall break, or perhaps even the week of break.
If the health metrics hold steady and resumption of athletics is approved by our Board, I know that resumption will be welcome news to our high school principals, coaches, parents and students, all of whom have been advocating for our student athletes to have the opportunity to safely resume activities.
As we continue to weigh issues and make decisions during this pandemic, the primary consideration remains the children whose well-being we are entrusted to ensure. My deepest hope is that Pima County’s metrics continue to support ever-widening opportunities for our students.
Todd A. Jaeger, J.D.
Update from the Superintendent: Pima County health metrics and school reopening recommendations
September 4, 2020
Dear Amphi Families,
As we head into the Labor Day weekend, I want to thank and celebrate those in our society whose labor and work is recognized by Monday’s holiday and give you an update on the status of the reopening of our schools.
In the past several months, when so many have lost jobs, the simple meaning, purpose and dignity of working in our lives has been magnified exponentially. I want to celebrate, in particular, the work of school district employees, who have shifted to a new approach in these days of work constraints everywhere. They have made a difficult situation better for everyone in our community. I see their work every day, and their jobs have never been more difficult. But they are doing it! They are doing it because they know the importance of their work to our community and to the children they care so much about.
Our employees would much rather perform their jobs “normally”, with children in classrooms, cafeterias and gymnasiums. That would not only be so much better for children, it would be so much easier for the employees. And, that is what we all want to get back to -- when we can.
This brings me to my other purpose in writing: to update you on the status of reopening our schools. Since I last wrote you, we have seen considerable improvements in our state and local public health metrics. As I previously explained, Governor Ducey has directed that we be guided in our decisions regarding the opening of schools by those state and local metrics. In the interest of public health and student and staff safety, we have done so thus far, and we will continue to do so.
Just yesterday, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced that Pima County now meets the state level benchmarks for opening in a hybrid approach. A hybrid approach is one in which students are served one portion (or cohort) at a time: perhaps one-half of students attending on certain days and the other half attending on other days (just one example). This is good and positive news of course. However, we also have local, Pima County metrics to consider.
Following the state health department’s announcement yesterday, I (and the other school district superintendents) received a letter from the Pima County Health Department which informed us that not all local public health benchmarks for reopening schools have been met yet, and that it would be unsafe to open schools at this time -- even in a hybrid model. In doing so, PCHD made note of the fact that local hospital and public health capacities continue to be of concern, and that there are now a large number of COVID cases associated with the University of Arizona’s reopening.
This means that we are not able to open presently – in hybrid or full form. I am still very hopeful, even expecting however, that we will still be able to open after our Fall Break, on October 12. To further discussion and planning for reopening on that date, the Governing Board will meet to consider relevant issues on Tuesday, September 15, at 6:00 p.m.
When the Amphitheater Governing Board approved the District’s reopening plan in July, they included a provision which would require a two week advance notice to our community before reopening for in-person learning in any form, so that people could plan accordingly. Our meeting on September 15 will allow us sufficient time to honor that commitment.
As we continue to refine and finalize a plan for getting our students back to “more normal” school conditions, I will continue to provide you with additional updates. Please look for an email from me next week for further information.
Thank you all in our community for the cooperation and understanding which you have shown as we have done our best to reconcile the many diverse conditions and needs of our community.
Todd A. Jaeger, J.D.
Update from the Superintendent: Pima County health metrics and school reopening recommendations
August 14, 2020
Dear Amphi Families:
I’m very proud to report that, overall, we had a very good first week of online learning. We certainly still face some challenges, but our teachers and other staff have worked so incredibly hard to minimize the impact of any challenge on our students. Please know that we are all so committed to making your child’s new way of learning the very best it can be. And, I cannot tell you how many comments I heard from our staff about how excited and encouraged they have been to see your children again – even if just on screen for now. Life and learning go on!
We do continue to confront issues such as student access to devices and internet service at home. We are working with our local governments, private vendors, the charitable Amphi Foundation, other nonprofits and within our own resources to address these needs as quickly as possible. We are working to bring internet access into homes without it, and we have ordered thousands of computer devices for student use at home. Unfortunately, the COVID situation dramatically slowed the manufacturer delivery of devices, but we have recently seen some progress in that regard.
I also want to update you on the potential for reopening for on-campus learning, after meeting with Pima County public health officials twice this week regarding COVID-19 metrics related to reopening.
After a thorough review of essential public health measures, the Pima County Health Department has provided an unequivocal recommendation that schools not reopen at this time. In fact, they have projected that COVID-19 conditions in the county will likely not permit reopening of schools for another six to seven weeks. This would likely place the return to on-campus education after our District’s Fall Break.
I know this news will be disappointing to many of you. It disappoints us as well, because we had hoped to bring our students back to their classrooms and other learning environments sooner. All of us believe that students will learn and grow better when they can do so in a “normal” way, but we also must remain cognizant of the limitations we face and the evidence we have already seen emerge in other locales where reopenings have led to school outbreaks.
The following chart, issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services, quickly encapsulates the issues we face by describing the levels of public health risk associated with certain COVID disease factors and school reopenings:
The significance of these measures is made clearer when we examine our current data:
- Pima County’s current case rate per 100,000 people is 127. Minimal risk (the green) requires fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 people.
- The most recent accurate COVID testing data in Pima County (from July 19 because there is a lag in the data) shows a positive test rate of 9.6%. Minimal risk requires a positivity rate of less than 5%. While the 9.6% rate is almost twice the level required for minimal risk, this factor has shown considerable improvement and almost brings the county within the “moderate risk” threshold, but for the requirement that the metric must decline for two consecutive week periods in order to support schools reopening.
- And finally, COVID-like illness occurrences need to be less than 5% to reach a “minimal risk” level, and the current level in Pima County is 6.1%. Fortunately, this metric has declined over each of the last two weeks, which puts it squarely into the “moderate risk” category – a very important improvement.
The Arizona Department of Health Services and the Pima County Health Department both advise that it will only be safe to open schools on a “hybrid” or part-time basis (only a portion of students attending at any one time) when all of these and many other metrics are either at “minimal” or “moderate” risk levels. And, for us to completely reopen safely, they both advise that all metrics must meet the “minimal” (or green) risk thresholds.
So, we will open as soon as possible, but we must be guided in deciding to do so based upon a clarity that it is safe to do so – for our students, our staff and our entire community. Please be assured that in the interim, our teachers and staff will continue to provide the very best instruction and services possible to our students remotely, until we are ultimately able to safely open our doors and welcome everyone back to school.
I will continue to keep you informed on changes as I learn more. In the meantime, if you do have any questions or concerns, please let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd A. Jaeger, J.D.
Amphitheater Public Schools
701 W. Wetmore Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85705
Tel: (520) 696-5206
Fax: (520) 696-5015
Links to Important Information and Resources
Links to previous Parent Communication (Español)
- Blue Ribbon Task Force Update (June 17, 2020)
- Letter from the Superintendent (June 3, 2020)
- Parent Grading Letter (April 15, 2020)
- Letter from the Superintendent (March 22, 2020)
- Letter from the Superintendent (March 20, 2020)
- Letter from the Superintendent (March 16, 2020)
- Letter from the Superintendent (March 15, 2020)
- Letter from the Superintendent (March 13, 2020)
- Letter from the Superintendent (March 10, 2020)
- Letter from the Superintendent (March 2, 2020)