Welcome to the 2022 School Year. We have missed you all and hope that you and your family remain safe and healthy. We are excited to welcome you and your child(ren) to the new school year.
Our Governing Board approved that we start our year with our fully in-person model only, using our CDC-recommended strong mitigation strategies. We learned a great deal last year and safely offered in-person learning to over half of our students for three-quarters of the year. We did so safely, and without any outbreaks in our schools.
The most current CDC/Public Health recommendations are included immediately after my letter. Our plan is informed and guided by these recommendations and our prior success in implementing these guidelines. Although they will most likely be revised over the course of the year, and as the pandemic changes, to start our year, CDC is recommending three essential mitigations, coupled with our other layered prevention strategies:
- Masking when indoors for unvaccinated and when around large groups of potentially unvaccinated individuals.
- Practicing social distancing.
- Vaccinations for those who are eligible.
Recent changes to Arizona Law prohibited a Local Governing Board from mandating masking in schools. However, because most of our students are under 12 and not eligible for vaccinations, to start the year we will be highly recommending and encouraging masking indoors. Masking helped us get us through the peak of the pandemic and it will carry us through until the spread of COVID is gone. We encourage parents to support our efforts to eliminate COVID from our schools and community by supporting their student in wearing a mask in school buildings.
Masking while on all forms of public transportation is still a federal mandate. Therefore, until further direction is provided, we will require masking on District transportation.
This year we have most of our amazing staff returning and we invested in additional teachers to keep our classroom sizes smaller. These smaller classes will allow us to serve all our students in-person using CDC and Public Health recommendations for practicing social distancing and cohorting.
Vaccinations worked in helping us stop the spread of COVID amongst our adult population last year. From February through the end of the year, after the vaccinations started, we had zero (0) staff cases of COVID. While our students are not eligible yet, our best way to protect them is for all eligible individuals to become vaccinated. We will be hosting vaccination events throughout the year and can help you locate a place to receive a free COVID vaccine.
This year we will also be offering opt-in, weekly pooled testing for students and staff. We will also continue rapid testing to help identify any positive cases.
Thank you for taking time to review our plan with your child(ren) and for supporting our efforts to stop the spread of COVID in our schools and community. You will be asked to sign the COVID-19 Waiver for your child to attend school, additionally, we are asking you to consider opting-in to pooled screening and BINAX rapid testing. Talk to your school for more information.
To help ensure your child and every child in our district is afforded a high-quality education provided by a caring adult, we need our students and staff healthy and attending regularly. This requires us to work together to stop COVID. Together we can do it!
Union ESD#62 is here to inspire hope and empower all children to courageously pursue their goals and dreams. School Starts August 2, 2021. Thank you for choosing Union Elementary School District as your educational partner. If you have any questions, or need additional support, please do not hesitate to contact your school or the district office.
Kristine Morris, Superintendent