Dear VBL Families,
The past week has been a roller coaster for sure! We have been busy with summer planning efforts. As soon as we believe we have plans in place and we’re ready to take action, the game changes. Our Governing Board voted on June 26 to delay the start of the 20-21 school year from July 20 to August 10. On Monday, June 29, Governor Ducey issued an executive order that in-person school cannot resume until at least August 17. Today, our leadership team is unpacking the executive order and beginning to create a new recommendation for schools reopening. Superintendent John Carruth stated that he hopes to have a plan to offer families by early next week (July 6). This plan may include remote learning until schools are able to open.
When we return to school, considerations for Vail Blended Learning staff and students have been made in alignment with the current recommendations from the Pima County Health Department. These considerations have been made with the best intent to keep staff and students safe. Details about the physical and logistical protections are outlined on our website and on the District’s School Opening and COVID19 webpage. These plans are like a lesson plan created for the first time; we can expect to modify them as we settle into school and establish routines. Other considerations are being addressed across the District to outline procedures such as adults and visitors on campus, field trips and elective Fridays. Once the school year resumes for staff, we will also plan for back-to-school activities, such as how to offer meetings for students new-to-Vail Blended to meet their teachers, visit campus and new student orientation. This is definitely a learning curve for all of us and we appreciate your support, your suggestions, and your grace as we move forward.
In addition to physical protections for students, the District (and soon Vail Blended staff once we resume meeting), will consider the necessary social-emotional support that students and staff may need with the extended school closure and a return to school that has been notably changed. It is great timing that we happened to receive a grant from ADE that supports the hiring of a school counselor for us to share with the VIC and Civano. Ms. Carrie Wrona (pronounced Rona, her real name!) will join us when school reopens.
The Theme for Vail Blended and Vail Innovation Center this year will be BE. (BE unique, BE kind, BE yourself, BE the change, BE amazing) I feel that this will be a fitting theme to help us come together and BE a team as we work through this unprecedented time. Students, please be thinking of statements, sayings and designs that we can incorporate with the theme this year.
These times are hard. We are all seeking something firm to hold onto and what I believe we can hold onto is this — we can do these hard things. We know from the history of forever that people are resilient and that we are able to solve problems, climb mountains, and move forward. There may be setbacks and mistakes. There may be permanent changes that adjust all of our expectations. There will always be teachers and students and community that find a way to be connected.
Take Care of Yourselves,