Emergency preparedness in Mesa Public Schools
The health and safety of students and staff is our top priority

(updated May 15, 2020)

 

Hello Mesa Public Schools families,

 

It is hard to believe the last day of school is just around the corner. I am incredibly proud of the resiliency everyone involved has shown, as we transitioned to remote learning for the last two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While everything hasn’t been perfect, I know every decision was made with the best of intentions and focused on the safety of our students, staff and community.

 

Thursday, May 21, is the last day of classes for students and Friday, May 22 is the last day on contract for teachers. As we prepare for summer break, I’d like to update you on a number of items.

 

Graduation and end-of-year celebrations

 

We will end the school year virtually. Each high school will be hosting a professional quality online event at the date and time its in-person ceremony was planned. Anyone can join in the festivities - just look for the live stream access information on the high school’s webpage.

 

Many of our schools are hosting a variety of online events to celebrate the end of the school year. We hope you are enjoying these opportunities to connect with your school community before summer break begins.

 

Report cards and IEP progress reports

 

Final grades and report cards will be available no later than Friday, May 29. Parents can access elementary report cards, secondary report cards and IEP progress reports in the parent portal. If you need help accessing your child’s grades or report card, please contact your school.

 

Summer school

 

High school summer school is being offered online only through MDLP, our district’s distance learning program. Students entering grades 7-12 may take up to two online summer courses at no cost. Learn more and register at mdlp.org.

 

Summer programs and camps

 

All in-person summer programming is canceled, including elementary enrichment summer school, Xplore and general interest camps. Specific program camps for athletic teams, marching bands, etc. will be considered in the future on a case-by-case basis.

 

Summer meals

 

The current meal service schedule will continue through Friday, May 22. Please note Eisenhower, Kerr, Lehi and Shepherd will end service on Wednesday, May 20.

 

Beginning Tuesday, May 26, the district will participate in the federal summer meal program four days per week - Monday through Thursday - at 26 schools. Breakfast and lunch will be served grab-and-go style from 9-11 a.m., with no onsite seating. The program will end on Thursday, June 25. Check the food and nutrition website for additional information.

 

District laptops

 

Students who were issued a district-owned laptop for remote learning will keep the device throughout the summer. Our goal is that students and families will continue to use the laptops to benefit their learning. The district help desk remains open during the summer with modified hours of service.

 

Graduating seniors and students not returning to Mesa Public Schools will need to drop off their laptop and all accessories at their school no later than May 21. Please contact your school for drop-off instructions.

 

Summer learning

 

Home learning resources will remain available throughout the summer and can be found on school websites and our district teaching & learning webpage. Families and students may search by grade level and content areas to explore and select activities of interest. We encourage you to access these materials to best prepare your child for the new school year.

 

Summer resources are also available from our special education department.

 

Next school year

 

Re-enrollment for returning students and enrollment for new students is open. Please take this opportunity to update your contact information, emergency contacts and more. If you need help accessing the enrollment system, please contact your school.

 

We are sure you are eager to know what next school year will look like. We are too! The district has established an Opening School Task Force that is evaluating and preparing for a number of possibilities with student and staff safety at the forefront of our work. Next week, you will receive a survey that will provide you the opportunity to add your thoughts and concerns to the discussion. Look for an update June 18 and every two weeks after. We are committed to keeping you informed of our progress and decisions.

 

In closing, I would like to take the opportunity to thank each of you for the sacrifices you made to ensure your child continued learning in a remote environment. We know it wasn’t easy, but it was invaluable to their success.

 

I would also like to offer my sincere congratulations to the graduating class of 2020. I admire your resilience and fortitude as you turn the page on the most unexpected chapter of your life and look with excitement toward your next adventure. Best of luck to each of you!

 

Sincerely,

 

Pete Lesar

Interim Superintendent

 

(updated April 8, 2020)

 

Due to increased concern for employee and community safety, we are implementing a modified meal service plan that will hopefully allow us to provide meals to our students in need through May 21. The modified plan includes consolidating locations, reducing service days and adjusting service times. Although we enter this plan with optimism, it is possible that additional adjustments may be necessary as the COVID-19 crisis continues.


There is no meal distribution on Friday, April 10 due to spring holiday.

 

Effective Monday, April 13, we will distribute meals at the schools on the attached list. The schools selected are based on the need for additional space, sensible consolidation of sites and past distribution trends. We will reduce meal distribution to three days per week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Students will continue to receive a lunch and a breakfast each day. If our food supply and workforce is sufficient, we may be able to distribute additional meals on certain days. Knowing that it will get warmer, we will change the meal distribution time to 9 to 11 a.m.


With staff and community safety always on our minds, we continue to make adjustments to safety protocols, including supplying masks and providing devices to separate workers from those picking up meals.


Reasons for the changes:

 

 

  1. Consolidation of sites allows for better usage of a dwindling workforce. The number of available workers continues to decline due to lack of childcare, sick or vulnerable family members, employee illness, fear of potential exposure and being a member of an at-risk category (65 years and older or having a compromised immune system).
  2. Reducing the number of serving days addresses the challenges we are experiencing in the food supply chain. School districts nationwide are competing for products that are most appropriate for drive-up meal service. Orders are being shorted and some items are just not available.
  3. The adjustment in serving time addresses two issues: the rise in temperature over the next several weeks, which could affect food safety, and more response time for the warehouse staff to adjust orders based on meal counts.

 

If your family is experiencing food insecurity or needs additional food support, please visit http://www.azfoodbanks.org/ to find a food bank near you.


We appreciate your continued support and flexibility.
Sincerely,

Pete Lesar
Interim Superintendent

Revised meal walk-up/drive-through locations:

Through Thursday, April 9, the following sites are open and serving meals from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.:

 

  • Adams Elementary
  • Brinton Elementary
  • Edison Elementary
  • Eisenhower Center for Innovation
  • Emerson Elementary
  • Field Elementary
  • Franklin East Elementary
  • Hermosa Vista Elementary
  • Highland Arts Elementary
  • Holmes Elementary
  • Hughes Elementary
  • Irving Elementary
  • Ishikawa Elementary
  • Jefferson Elementary
  • Keller Elementary
  • Kerr Elementary
  • Lehi Elementary
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Lindbergh Elementary
  • Longfellow Elementary
  • Lowell Elementary
  • MacArthur Elementary
  • Mesa Education Center (East Valley Academy/Crossroads)
  • O'Connor Elementary
  • Patterson Elementary
  • Robson Elementary
  • Roosevelt Elementary
  • Salk Elementary
  • Shepherd Junior High
  • Sousa Elementary
  • Stevenson Elementary
  • Taft Elementary
  • Webster Elementary
  • Whitman Elementary
  • Whittier Elementary
  • Zaharis Elementary

 

All sites will be closed Friday, April 10, for spring holiday.

Beginning April 13, the following sites will provide meals Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9 to 11 a.m. only:

 

  • Adams Elementary
  • Brinton Elementary
  • Eisenhower Center for Innovation
  • Emerson Elementary
  • Franklin East Elementary
  • Holmes Elementary
  • Jefferson Elementary
  • Keller Elementary
  • Kerr Elementary
  • Kino Junior High
  • Lehi Elementary
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Lindbergh Elementary
  • Longfellow Elementary
  • Lowell Elementary
  • MacArthur Elementary
  • Mesa Education Center (East Valley Academy/Crossroads)
  • O'Connor Elementary
  • Patterson Elementary
  • Poston Junior High
  • Rhodes Junior High
  • Robson Elementary
  • Salk Elementary
  • Shepherd Junior High
  • Sousa Elementary
  • Stapley Junior High
  • Stevenson Elementary
  • Taft Elementary
  • Webster Elementary

 

 

(updated April 7, 2020)

 

As indicated in our April 1 communication to families, the district has been assessing our drive-through/walk-up meal service protocols to ensure the safety of our families and staff is our top priority. Be on the lookout for a communication about meal service going forward.

 

The following changes are effective this week. Our schedule will change starting April 13, and we will be communicating with our families shortly.

 

Through Thursday, April 9, the following sites will be open and serving meals from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.:

  • Adams Elementary
  • Brinton Elementary
  • Edison Elementary
  • Eisenhower Center for Innovation
  • Emerson Elementary
  • Field Elementary
  • Franklin East Elementary
  • Hermosa Vista Elementary
  • Highland Arts Elementary
  • Holmes Elementary
  • Hughes Elementary
  • Irving Elementary
  • Ishikawa Elementary
  • Jefferson Elementary
  • Keller Elementary
  • Kerr Elementary
  • Lehi Elementary
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Lindbergh Elementary
  • Longfellow Elementary
  • Lowell Elementary
  • MacArthur Elementary
  • O'Connor Elementary
  • Patterson Elementary
  • Robson Elementary
  • Roosevelt Elementary
  • Salk Elementary
  • Sousa Elementary
  • Stevenson Elementary
  • Taft Elementary
  • Webster Elementary
  • Whitman Elementary
  • Whittier Elementary
  • Zaharis Elementary

Today, April 7, is the last day of meal service at the following sites:

  • Falcon Hill Elementary
  • Johnson Elementary
  • Las Sendas Elementary
  • Mendoza Elementary
  • Porter Elementary

Starting Wednesday, April 8, the following sites will also open for meal service:

  • Mesa Education Center (East Valley Academy/Crossroads)
  • Shepherd Junior High

All sites will be closed Friday, April 10, for a previously scheduled holiday.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

 

(updated April 1, 2020)


Hello Mesa Public Schools staff and families,

 

I hope this message finds you well and focused on caring for yourself and your family during this public health crisis that has so profoundly impacted every aspect of our life, including the education of our children.

Now, more than ever, the statement "student and staff safety is our first priority" stands at the forefront of every decision the district is making. Our goal is not to be the first or the fastest, it is to be the safest. Because of that, I thank you for your patience as we finalize plans and share information in light of two significant announcements Monday: The closure of schools through the end of the school year and Governor Ducey's executive order to "stay home, stay healthy, stay connected."

For the remainder of the school year, learning will look different than what educators, students, and parents are used to seeing. Here's what we know:

Elementary teaching and learning

Remote learning for PreK to sixth-grade students will begin April 6. Students will engage with online and/or print materials. Teachers will connect with students and share learning activities. They will be available to students and parents via phone, email and virtual platforms, throughout the regular workday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with the goal of responding in less than 24 hours. Parents may supplement with the district's home learning resources.

Third-quarter report cards are available. Parents can access elementary report cards and IEP progress reports in the parent portal.

Junior high teaching and learning

Remote learning for seventh and eighth graders will begin April 6. Students will engage with online and/or print materials. Teachers will connect with students and share learning activities. They will be available to students and parents via phone, email and virtual platforms, throughout the regular workday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the goal of responding in less than 24 hours. Parents may supplement with the district's home learning resources.

In the near future, we hope to distribute laptops to students who do not have access to any computer or tablet at home. Distribution will happen once we are confident we can keep everyone involved in the process safe. If your child needs a district laptop, please prepare by reading the student device handbook, and printing and completing the user agreement. If laptops will be distributed, details will be sent by your school.

High school teaching and learning

Remote learning for ninth-12th grade students began Monday, March 30. Hopefully each student connected with their teachers and started learning in a remote environment. This learning will reinforce previously taught standards, introduce new ones and provide students the opportunity to maintain and improve their current second semester grades.

The State Board of Education approved rules that allow districts to issue academic credit and high school diplomas if a student met or was on track to meet the minimum course of study and competency requirements prior to the school closure. We will begin evaluating senior transcripts and reach out individually with any issues or concerns regarding graduation eligibility.

All school-related activities are cancelled through the end of the school year. However, we know a celebration and recognition are important to our graduating seniors, their families and our community. It is important to us, too. We are exploring various creative and virtual options for graduation. High schools are developing plans to have vendors distribute caps and gowns to seniors, and yearbooks to students who ordered one. Dates, times and other details regarding distribution of these items will be shared by your school.

Special education

Special education teachers are reaching out to families to discuss how special education and related services may be provided. Teachers will use a variety of tools to provide instruction. General education teachers will provide appropriate accommodations to the degree possible and based on individual student plans. Currently scheduled and recently missed IEP meetings will be conducted virtually, and MET meetings will be conducted virtually when appropriate. In-person evaluation testing will not be available.

Home learning resources

Home learning resources are available and can be found on school websites, our district teaching & learning home page, as well as the district's emergency preparedness webpage.

Families and students may search these general educational opportunities by grade level and content area to explore and select activities of interest to their child. We encourage you to access these materials as appropriate.

Meal service

Sack lunches for children 18 and under continue to be available at district elementary schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each lunch comes with a breakfast item for the next day. Drive-through or walk-up service is provided. Families must immediately leave campus after picking up lunch. Find the participating elementary school nearest you at bit.ly/mpslocator.

We are currently assessing the meal service protocol for safety and anticipate making adjustments. Please watch for information about revised locations, frequency and service times.

Communication is especially critical during this time. Parents, using the parent portal, check that your contact information is up to date, including phone numbers and email. Be sure to opt into texting by texting yes to 67587. Your cellphone number must be on file in the district's student database. Updates can be requested through the parent portal or by calling your school. Employees, please review and update your contact information in the iVisions self-service portal.

Thank you for your continued understanding and support. One of the most important things we can do right now is be kind to one another. I appreciate the opportunity to be part of the strong, resilient Mesa Public Schools family during these trying times. Together we will take great care of our community.

Stay home, stay healthy, stay connected,

Dr. Pete Lesar
Interim Superintendent

 

(updated March 30, 2020)

 

Hello Mesa Public Schools families,

 

This morning, Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced that all Arizona schools will be closed through the rest of the school year. This includes all school-related activities.

Although this was not the outcome we wanted, we are grateful to have this direction so we can move ahead in planning for a successful end to the school year for our students, including exploring avenues for honoring our seniors.

On Friday, March 27, the Governor signed legislation to help support school districts in the event of an extended closure. This includes suspension of statewide testing requirements, assurance that schools will not need to extend our calendars into the summer, and funding to support continued employee pay. The legislation also requires learning opportunities for students to continue. As communicated last week, high school students began remote learning today, with preK-8th grade remote learning kicking off Monday, April 6.

We know you have many questions about grades, graduation, scholarships and more. As we coordinate with state officials, we will share more information as soon as it is available. Find the latest information about school closures at mpsaz.org/beprepared.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding,

Dr. Pete Lesar
Interim Superintendent

 

 

(updated March 26, 2020)

 

We are ready to move to a new learning environment in Mesa Public Schools. Beginning Monday, March 30, our high school communities will launch remote teaching and learning. PreK-8 student remote learning will launch April 6.

Students will have the opportunity to engage in learning, and improve or maintain their existing semester grades. We are still working out a number of details, however, it is important that we continue educating your children while schools are closed.

Here are some things to do in preparation:

Students, check that you can successfully log in to your computer and Canvas. If you experience any issues, please enter a work order at help.mpsaz.org or call the help desk at 480-472-0044 by the end of the day Friday. Providing a good phone number is important to receiving a service call within 24 hours. Our technicians can help either remotely or by appointment with:

  • Logging in and password resets
  • Hardware issues
  • Providing a laptop or power cord if you do not have your school-issued laptop or power cord at home with you

 

If you do not have internet access in your home or another safe environment, please let your child's teachers know so they can provide alternative access to class materials. You may want to explore Cox's Connect2Compete low-cost internet program, which is offering 60 days free service for eligible families through May 15. For other internet provider information, please go to mpsaz.org/beprepared. We are also exploring how to safely provide access to school WiFi for students.

Parents, using the parent portal, check that your contact information is up to date, including phone numbers and email. Be sure to opt into texting by texting yes to 67587. Your cellphone number must be on file in the district's student database. Updates can be requested through the parent portal or by calling your school.

What to expect

We know that as we begin working in this new learning environment, everything won't be perfect. It will take time for each of us to learn new tools, overcome technology challenges, work together without in-person interaction and just accept that school is different. We may not immediately have answers to all of your questions, but we will work diligently to find answers and communicate them to you. Everyone's patience and understanding will be critical to achieving success.

On Monday and throughout the first week, teachers will reach out to students and parents to ensure they are successfully connected to Canvas, or to determine if they need alternative access to the learning materials. Teachers will re-establish class norms, and begin to provide instruction, assignments and projects aligned with course standards. They will be available to students and parents via phone, email and virtual platforms, throughout the regular workday, 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., with the goal of responding in less than 24 hours.

Special education

Special education teachers are reaching out to families to discuss how special education and related services may be provided. Teachers will use a variety of tools to provide instruction. General education teachers will provide appropriate accommodations to the degree possible and based on individual student plans. Currently scheduled and recently missed IEP meetings will be conducted virtually, and MET meetings will be conducted virtually when appropriate. In-person evaluation testing will not be available.

Finals and graduation

At this time, Governor Doug Ducey and State Superintendent Kathy Hoffman have closed all Arizona schools through April 10. We understand many students and families have questions about finals, and end-of-year celebrations such as prom and graduation. Decisions about these events will be made after receiving further information from state officials. Please know, district leadership is committed to ensuring our students end the year successfully. As soon as we have more information to share, we will provide additional communication.

Thank you for your continued support as we learn and grow together during school closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. We appreciate your patience and flexibility.

 

(updated March 20, 2020)

 

Late this afternoon, Governor Doug Ducey announced a two-week extension to the statewide school closure due to coronavirus and COVID-19. Schools are now closed through April 10. Please watch this video message to staff and families, where I discuss our commitments to our community throughout the closure and other important information.

 

Home learning resources

Home learning resources are available and can be found on school websites, our district teaching & learning home page, as well as the district's emergency preparedness webpage.

Families and students may search by grade level and content areas to explore and select activities of interest to their child. We encourage you to access these materials during the school closure. These activities are optional and not intended to be substituted for instruction at this time. Please do not submit any activities that your child completes during this time as they will not be graded nor used for instructional purposes.

Should school closures last for an extended period of time, we will update our community regarding longer-term online learning opportunities.

Keep in touch

Please contact your child's teacher via email or phone. All schools are closed, but teachers are working from home, as recommended by the CDC, and can assist you if you have trouble accessing the resources.

Meal service

Throughout the closure, sack lunches for children 18 and under will be available at district elementary schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each lunch comes with a breakfast item for the next day. Drive-through or walk-up service is provided. Families are encouraged to immediately leave campus after picking up lunch and practice social distancing. Find the participating school nearest you at bit.ly/mpslocator.

Thank you for your continued understanding and support.

Dr. Pete Lesar
Interim Superintendent

 

(updated March 17, 2020)

 

At tonight's meeting, the Governing Board received an update on our school closure planning, discussed possible formal communication with state leaders and unanimously passed a resolution to extend approval of school closure and employee compensation through the closure.

 

  • All schools and facilities are closed until further notice, including playgrounds and fields.
  • School leaders and educators will be reaching out to families to connect, assess their needs and maintain relationships.
  • Online and paper supplemental learning resources are currently being developed.
  • District educators will receive professional development in order to effectively provide online learning.
  • Information about students' individualized education programs (IEPs) will be shared with families.
  • Mesa Distance Learning Program (MDLP) is operating as usual.

We recognize the difficulty that Arizona's school closures present for working families. It is important to remember that closing schools is an effort to maintain social distancing of at least six feet between people and to reduce the number of individuals gathering in a given space to prevent the spread of the virus.

Latest national guidance includes:

  • If you or your child feel sick, stay at home.
  • If someone in your household has tested positive for the coronavirus, keep the entire household home.
  • Anyone with a serious underlying health condition (including diabetes) or who is over 60 years old should stay home and away from others.
  • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
  • Use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options at restaurants and other businesses when possible. Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.

While there may still be public spaces open and available, we ask parents to strongly consider keeping their children home.

On March 22, Governor Doug Ducey is scheduled to announce if there will be an extension of school closure past March 27.

Throughout the closure, sack lunches for children 18 and under will be available at district elementary schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each lunch comes with a breakfast item for the next day. Drive-through or walk-up service is provided. Families are encouraged to immediately leave campus after picking up lunch and practice social distancing. Find the participating school nearest you at bit.ly/mpslocator.

 

(updated March 15, 2020)

 

As communicated last night, district schools will NOT be reopening Monday, March 16 due to the coronavirus situation. This afternoon, Governor Ducey announced all Arizona schools will be closed through March 27. Please plan to keep your children home until the district announces a reopening date.

 

Emergency sack lunches will be available for pick up at all district elementary schools on Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all children ages 18 and younger, including our junior high and high school students. We are developing a more comprehensive breakfast and lunch distribution plan to go into effect later this week.

School offices will be open during regular hours on March 16 and 17 so families can pick up their child's critical personal items, such as medication. Playgrounds and other outdoor spaces will not be available for use.

Please visit our website mpsaz.org/beprepared for additional details and watch for additional communication throughout the closure about learning resources and other critical services.

(updated March 14, 2020)

 

Dear Mesa Public Schools community,


As promised, district leadership and the Governing Board have continued to monitor the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation. As new information has been received, we have carefully studied it to determine if it would cause us to change our course of action. We have listened to and considered feedback from a variety of sources. As a result, district schools will not open on Monday, March 16


At this time, we do not know how long students will not be reporting to school. We will keep you updated as the situation continues to unfold. Please know that we are doing our very best to make decisions that will help care for all of us during this time.


We are currently solidifying alternative methods of providing access to learning resources and as many other services as possible during the time that students are not reporting to school.


Impact to students and families


School, athletics, clubs, before and afterschool programming and other in-person, school-related activities are suspended until further notice. School offices will be open during regular hours on March 16 and 17 so families can pick up their child’s critical personal items, such as medication.

Families should refer to CDC information on how to prepare for community spread of COVID-19.

Over the coming week, we will communicate our plan to support families in the following ways:

  • Providing learning resources online, via email and hard copy when possible. These are not meant to be a substitute for classroom instruction, but will help students practice their skills and learn independently.

  • Providing weekday meals to students on the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.

  • Providing frequent updates with information and resources via email, text messages, the website and social media channels. 

Impact to staff

We understand that closing schools will be a hardship on many of our employees. While details have not yet been finalized, please know that a top priority is to minimize to the extent possible the impact of this decision on our employees’ personal financial situations.

All school-based employees should report to their site on Monday as scheduled and check in with their principal for further direction. Employees should practice preventative measures. If an employee believes their personal circumstance places them in a high risk category, they should report their concern to their supervisor and stay home.

We anticipate that teachers will continue to support students in their learning. Teachers will have access to the schools to pick up their laptops, needed materials and personal items, or to work in their classroom.

The ability to work either onsite or remotely for other school-based employees will depend on job responsibilities.

All district-based employees should report to their normal worksite on Monday as scheduled and check in with their supervisor for further direction. Employees should practice preventative measures. If an employee believes their personal circumstance places them in a high risk category, they should report their concern to their supervisor and stay home.

District leaders are currently assessing what support functions are needed during the time students are not reporting to school and what work can be conducted onsite or remotely.

We are grateful for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through this challenging time together.


Sincerely,

Dr. Pete Lesar

Interim Superintendent

___________________

(updated March 13, 2020)

Hello Mesa Public Schools community,

Based on currently available information, we will resume school on Monday, March 16, with significant precautions in place. State and county health authorities, and state education leaders do not recommend closing schools. According to Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona remains at minimal risk for coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. The district will continue to monitor the rapidly changing situation.

Thank you for your patience as district leadership makes decisions that affect our community during this unprecedented time. We recognize that people will have different viewpoints on these decisions, and may have unique family circumstances. As a parent, if you believe that keeping your child home is best, then please do so, knowing there will be no negative attendance repercussions.

The following protocols are in place to maximize the safety of our school communities.

Stay home if sick

Students and staff who are sick should stay home. We will calculate perfect attendance for the 2019-20 school year as of March 6. Follow these guidelines to prevent illness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include:

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

The severity of symptoms may vary. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of serious illness. This is similar to what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.

Stay home due to family circumstances

If you choose to keep your child home from school, please contact your school to report the absence and anticipated date of return. These absences will be excused and will not affect perfect attendance or open enrollment status.

If, as an employee, you choose to stay home from work, we will follow our district absence policy and regulation, GBBD-R2.

Students and staff returning from travel to CDC Level 3 affected countries

Students and staff who participated in school-sponsored travel to countries that were identified as Level 3 during their trip will follow the CDC self-quarantine protocols.

Any employee who personally traveled to a Level 3 country since March 2 is required to disclose the location and timing of their travel to their supervisor, and will be required to follow the CDC self-quarantine protocols. The supervisor will work with the employee and human resources to manage individual cases.

We expect any student who personally traveled to a Level 3 country since March 2 disclose the location and timing of their travel to their principal and follow the CDC self-quarantine protocols. The district is committed to supporting students with their academic work during their absence.

Students and staff returning from out-of-state travel and travel to CDC non-Level 3 countries

We ask that any employee or student who personally traveled out-of-state or to a non-Level 3 country since March 2 shares the location and timing of their travel with their principal or supervisor. This is an ongoing request.

 

The district will continue to follow the CDC guidelines. If the traveler chooses to self-quarantine, standard absence policies will apply.

School closures

We understand extended school closures can create hardship for families. The school day is the centerpiece of the lives of many people. Children count on the reliable routine that a school day offers, from the classroom setting to the supportive staff who know them, care for them and provide recognition of them.

Any decision to close a district school or schools will be made in collaboration with state and county health authorities or at the declaration of the Governor.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Christ shared with school district leaders on Thursday that school closures could potentially lead to an increase in community spread if students were exposed to groups outside of their regular school communities.


Future student and staff travel, including field trips


All elementary and junior high student travel has been suspended. All out-of-state and overnight high school student travel has been suspended. Same-day, in-state competitive high school travel will be reviewed on an individual basis. The Arizona Interscholastic Association will meet on Monday, and we may have additional information to share with you about athletic events moving forward. 

All staff travel is also suspended, unless accompanying an approved same-day, in-state competitive high school student trip.

Some suspended travel could be rescheduled, and we will update those impacted if that occurs. We are investigating if any refunds for cancelled travel will be possible.

Gatherings at schools and use of our facilities

To limit the exposure of our school communities to outside groups:

  • All school group activities including assemblies, dances, concerts, STEM nights, carnivals, etc. are suspended.

  • School volunteerism is limited to parents only.

  • District partners who provide essential services to students will continue as scheduled. All other vendors and service providers will be allowed on campuses outside of the school day.

  • All rental of our buildings to outside groups is suspended. We will continue to rent outdoor spaces to non-school groups.

  • Mesa Youth Sports and Junior High Athletics are suspended.

  • Xplore, elementary enrichment, Mesa K-Ready and adult education will continue as scheduled.

  • Staff should host meetings with individuals from multiple sites virtually through Webex or similar technology.

  • The status of other events and activities will be determined as needed. Some suspended events could be rescheduled.

Update on cleaning protocols

  • The district is confirming that hand soap and disinfectant is available at schools and work sites.

  • Custodial staff cleans and sanitizes all high-touch areas (door handles, light switches, drinking fountains, etc.) daily. 

  • Buses are sanitized at the end of each day, with additional attention and frequency given to preschool and special education buses.

  • Processes for large-scale disinfecting are under development.

Students, staff and families should follow key preventive measures. The CDC offers some tips on its website that can be useful in avoiding the spread of this and other illnesses. 

We remain in constant contact with local and state officials to ensure that we are doing what is best for the Mesa Public Schools community. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and update you as information becomes available. All information will also be posted on the district website at mpsaz.org/beprepared.

Thank you for your support and understanding during this time. 

Sincerely, Dr. Pete Lesar Interim Superintendent

___________________

(updated March 12, 2020)

Mesa Public Schools is working closely with our local and state health partners as we monitor the coronavirus situation locally, nationally and internationally. We are committed to making decisions that keep the safety of our students and staff at the forefront of our work. Several areas that we are currently assessing include:

  1. Students and staff returning to school after traveling out-of-state or out-of-country during break.
  2. Future student and staff travel, including field trips.
  3. Gatherings at schools.
  4. Facility use.
  5. Cleaning protocols.
  6. School closure.

At this time we will not be closing schools, but if we do, it would be in close consultation with public health authorities.

We know many of you have questions and concerns about how the district will operate going forward. We are balancing communicating decisions in a timely manner with having the most up-to-date information available to make those decisions.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available and will share a comprehensive message no later than Saturday evening regarding the practices we will have in place when we return from spring break on Monday, March 16.

Additional information can be found at mpsaz.org/beprepared. Thank you for your patience and ongoing support.

Sincerely,

Pete Lesar
Interim Superintendent

___________________

(updated March 6, 2020)

Coronavirus is an unexpected and unprecedented situation that requires us all to make balanced judgments. In collaboration with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, the district continues to monitor and evaluate our practices and decisions regarding safe and healthy environments for our students and staff.

Student and staff travel

District leadership has adopted recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding travel to Level 3 areas, which state all individuals who have traveled to Level 3 countries will be asked to stay home for 14 days upon returning to the U.S.

Parents should notify their child's school of any travel to a Level 3 area including when their 14-day home stay will end. The school will excuse their absences for that period and will work with students on an individual basis to provide access to coursework.

Staff should notify their supervisor of any travel plans to a Level 3 area. The district will work with employees on an individual basis to determine what accommodations will be needed to cover job responsibilities during their absence.

Out-of-state and overnight field trips

Many field trips are scheduled between now and the end of the school year. We are hopeful all field trips will proceed as planned. To ensure the safety of our students and staff, field trip locations will be monitored and any decisions to modify travel will be based on local, state and national health agency recommendations. Families will receive updated information closer to travel time.

Cleaning and other preventative measures

The district continues to practice enhanced cleaning measures. In addition, the district will conduct disinfectant routines on school buses. Guidance for staff and students continues to be that they should stay home if they are sick. Children and adults are recommended to stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of fever without using acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This reduces the number of people who may get infected.

By working together and committing to preventative measures, we can keep our community safe. Learn recommended practices to stay healthy and more at mpsaz.org/beprepared.

 

(updated Feb. 28, 2020)

Facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We understand that there may be concern over coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19, due to media reports about a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory. Maricopa County Department of Public Health has assured us there are 0 cases of COVID-19 in our community, and overall risk to the public remains low. Although there is no confirmed community spread in the U.S., experts predict there could eventually be community spread.

Here are some facts that families should know about COVID-19:

  • It is a new coronavirus, originating in Wuhan, China, that causes respiratory illness ranging from mild cold-like symptoms to pneumonia.
  • 81% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in China had mild symptoms.
  • Similar to influenza, those most likely to have severe complications from COVID-19 are people over 60 and those with medical conditions such as heart and lung disease or diabetes.
  • There is no vaccine or treatment currently available for COVID-19.
  • People most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are those who have been in close contact (within six feet) with someone who has the disease.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.

COVID-19 is believed to spread the same way the common cold or flu spreads - through respiratory droplets produced when someone coughs or sneezes. Flu activity typically peaks during this time and Mesa Public Schools takes great care to ensure that all school and office buildings are cleaned effectively. Staff have been directed to give extra attention to high-touch areas, such as door handles, water fountains and keyboards. Staff also encourage children to wash hands regularly to prevent the spread of illness.

Guidance for staff and students continues to be that they should stay home if they are sick. Children and adults are recommended to stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of fever without using acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This reduces the number of people who may get infected.

Because protection from all respiratory viruses is similar, this is a good time to review strategies we can use for prevention:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick, and keep sick children home as well.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze, then immediately discard any tissues.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

We continue to stay in touch with our county and state health agencies to ensure that we share timely, accurate information with the community. We will keep you updated with any developments that could impact our families or schools. For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, please visit the Maricopa County Department of Public Health website, www.maricopa.gov/coronavirus.

Important messages

May 15, 2020 End-of-year update

April 8, 2020 closure update - meal service

April 1, 2020 closure update

March 30, 2020 closure update

March 26, 2020 remote learning update

March 20, 2020 update

March 17, 2020 update

March 15, 2020 update

March 14, 2020 update

March 13, 2020 update

March 12, 2020 update

Helpful links and resources

Emergency sack lunches update

Walk-up or drive-through service available for all children 18 and younger.
Read more about changes to the emergency meal service.

Cox Connect2Compete - free for 60 days

Eligible families can get internet free for 60 days, then $9.95/month afterward.

T-Mobile COVID-19 response

Learn about unlimited data specials and more.

Boost Mobile COVID-19 response

Free mobile hotspot and additional data specials available for existing customers.

How to talk to your child about coronavirus

Preventive tips for employees

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Maricopa County Department of Public Health

Arizona Department of Health Services

City of Mesa

City of Chandler

Ready

Listo

Helpful tips for families

Coronavirus travel update

for staff and students

Actualización sobre el Coronavirus y viajes

para el personal y estudiantes