Skip to Content Skip to Footer Accessibility Concerns

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates

Information on this page is subject to change based on COVID-19 and direction from the Governor, Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Arizona Department of Education.

Dysart continues to work with state and local health officials to develop best practices for safety, cleaning, and reporting processes for COVID-19. Full-time classroom and full-time online options are available so families can make the educational decisions that are best for them. Remember to mask up, wash your hands frequently, and help keep our community safe.  















   

November 19, 2020

 

 

Good afternoon Dysart parents and guardians,

In a press conference yesterday, Governor Ducey reiterated the importance of wearing masks on school campuses.  Today, the Arizona Department of Health Services issued an emergency mandate requiring that masks be worn on school campuses, on school buses and during school-associated activities by all students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors.  

As you know, Dysart has already been requiring the use of face coverings as part of our COVID health and safety protocols. We have had great cooperation from our students, staff and community members, and appreciate your continued efforts moving forward. Thank you for doing your part to keep our campuses safe and healthy.  


November 18, 2020

 

Dysart parents and guardians,

Greetings! On behalf of the Dysart Unified School District, thank you for your extraordinary support of your children during the COVID Pandemic. Parents and teachers are tasked to be more fully engaged with students than ever before. I appreciate every effort you give.

I know that there are many questions about the rising COVID numbers in Maricopa County. I assure you that the safety and health of your children, and our employees, remains a top priority in every decision we make. Each school district determines the criteria for opening or closing schools or a district. Dysart Unified School District follows the guidance from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (Listed under FAQs for Re-Opening and Re-Closing Schools) which states:

“Similar to determining when to reopen schools for in person learning, the decision of when to quarantine a group of students, or a class, or a school should be made in close coordination with Public Health. This may take into account a number of factors, including but not limited to:
 
1. The level of community transmission
2. Whether cases have been identified among students and staff
3. If cases are identified, how many classrooms are affected
4. Percent absenteeism at the school
5. Population being affected: age, location, classrooms affected, etc.
6. The model of instructional delivery and mitigation plans in place.
7. The importance of in person education to the social, emotional, and academic growth and well-being of the student population.”

Given the above criteria, Dysart carefully monitors several sources of data to provide the best, safest learning methods for our students. It is important to remember that while the broader community data is in the red according to county dashboard data, individual school data show very low counts of active cases with very limited spread. Most schools have zero or one or two cases with no spread.

Dysart believes the safest place for children, in general, is at school and that in person learning is the best learning format for most students. Dysart continues to take extraordinary steps to keep our schools safe and healthy to continue the in person learning option for families. I thank students, staff and parents for your diligence in following our health and safety protocols. Dysart’s mitigation strategies and compliance by students and staff are keeping our active case numbers down. 

As a reminder, here are some of the things we are doing to keep our campuses safe:

  • Disinfecting high touch areas on campus 3x a day, and again each night and disinfecting buses between each run and again each night. 
  • Daily temperature checks for students and staff
  • Wearing face coverings
  • Providing hand sanitizer stations and reminding students to wash hands frequently.
  • Serving meals in closed containers and providing touchless checkout.
  • Students are sent home when they exhibit symptoms through the symptom referral process in place.
  • Parents are asked to screen their child(ren) for symptoms before sending them to school and keep them home if they are ill.
  • Any time there is a confirmed positive case on campus, contact tracing is done and anyone with direct contact is required to quarantine and monitor for symptoms for 14 days as a precaution.


I also want to clarify information about the number of cases in our schools. We are hearing rumors that suggest schools are having outbreaks because of how many students and staff are in quarantine. Please understand that the number of those in quarantine do not reflect active cases.  Placing someone in quarantine is done as a precaution after someone has potentially been in direct contact with someone who tested positive (i.e., Direct Contact, as defined by state and county health services.) Currently less than one percent of those who have been quarantined have later tested positive. Quarantine numbers do not indicate an outbreak. There are many situations in which individuals are quarantined, including:

  • direct contact with someone that tested positive (by using seating charts, eating lunch, classroom interaction, transportation, etc);  
  • student-to-student physical contact (such as clubs, teams, outside school interactions at work, church, etc);   
  • residing in a household with someone who has tested positive; or
  • direct contact due to attendance at social gatherings with friends, family, etc.


Dysart posts a report each week on the number of persons who tested positive for COVID at each school (www.dysart.org/cases). We will continue to diligently follow health and safety protocols and quarantine individuals, when necessary, and we will take guidance from state and county health officials, should our protocols need to change. Our families will continue to have the option to learn in person or online, and we ask you to consult with your school administrator to determine what is best for your child if you have any concerns. K-8 families should contact their school if a change in format is needed, and high school students may change formats prior to the start of a new semester, if needed.

Thank you again for your extraordinary support for your children and their teachers. 

Sincerely,
Quinn R. Kellis, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Dysart Unified School District
 

 

 

November 6, 2020

COVID Notification and Reporting Process Update
 
What happens when students or staff exhibit COVID-19 symptoms?
All health office staff and administrators have been trained in COVID-19 symptomatic triage to determine if symptoms are typical, such as those associated with allergies and other identified conditions.  If symptoms are new and unexplained, the health office staff will follow the established health services procedures. If the symptoms continue after following the procedures, the parent will be contacted to help identify the onset or continuation of symptoms.  If the student is sent home they can return when they are symptom free for 24-hours without fever or pain reducing medication. If the student is tested for COVID-19 they will remain home until the test results are received. If negative, the child can return to school if symptom free as stated above. If positive, the student will remain in isolation for 14 days after symptom onset and must be symptom free for 24 hours without fever or pain reducing medication.

How should families report if a person in the household has tested positive?
Students, families and staff and students must inform the teacher, nurse, site administrator, or attendance clerk if they have symptoms, test positive, or have had direct contact with someone that has tested positive. Anyone in the household with direct contact with the person who tested positive should quarantine for 14-days from the onset of symptoms. If anyone else in the household tests positive, the 14-day quarantine period begins again.

What is the protocol for a positive COVID case at a school site?
When a positive case is reported to the school the health office staff and administration begin the process of collecting information from the parent regarding symptom onset, testing dates, and previous exposure. Staff will begin to collect direct contact information.  Anyone who tests positive is in isolation for 14 days and can return to school if they have been symptom free for 24 hours without fever or pain reducing medication, or if no one in their household is symptomatic or has tested positive during the 14-day isolation period. Every positive case is reported to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Direct contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period OR had physical contact with a person.  Anyone who has direct contact will be quarantined for 14 days from the last date of contact with the positive person. Indirect contact is defined as being within 6' of someone who has tested positive for less than 10 minutes, or in direct contact with someone who has a person in their household who has tested positive. Those who have indirect contact will remain at school and asked to monitor for symptoms. 

Please note that HIPAA, FERPA, and ADA regulations limit the details we can provide. Following state and local health agency guidelines, any student or staff member with direct contact is required to quarantine for 14 calendar days, per ADPH and CDC guidelines, and we are required to notify local health officials of anyone testing positive in our schools.

Parents/guardians are notified about a COVID case if:
Your child has had direct contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more) with someone who tested positive and that person is in isolation.
Your child has had indirect contact with a student or staff member that tested positive, within 6 feet for less than 15 minutes, or if they were in direct contact with a student in the class who has a household member who tested positive.
Your child’s teacher has been quarantined. 
There are 2 or more active cases on campus from different households simultaneously that meet specific criteria from the MCDPH (listed below). 
 
When will school-wide notifications take place regarding COVID cases?
Dysart will send a school-wide notification only when two or more students or staff have tested positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period, AND the following criteria from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) are met:
1. Those that have tested positive could have had direct contact, such as in a classroom or on a school sports team; and
2. Do not live in the same household; and
3. Were not identified as direct contacts of each other in another setting during a Public Health case investigation (e.g. friends who play together in each other’s homes).
How is direct and in-direct contact defined?
Direct contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period OR had physical contact with a person. Indirect contact is defined as being within 6’ of someone who has tested positive for less than 10 minutes.

How do schools determine who has been in contact with a person that has tested positive or had direct contact?  
Classroom seating charts are reviewed and students and/or staff are interviewed to determine who may have been within 6 feet of the positive person for more than 10 minutes.

 

 

November 5, 2020

Good afternoon Dysart parents and guardians,

As we approach the start of the holiday season in just a few short weeks, and with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in our state and community, we want to remind everyone about the continued importance of wearing face coverings, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings. Please ensure you are keeping your children home from school if they are symptomatic, and notify us if they have symptoms, test positive, or have had direct contact with someone that has tested positive. Details on our reporting and notification processes are available at dysart.org/BacktoSchool.

We have heard many questions about how our schools are being impacted by COVID, and have been diligently notifying all who have had direct contact. Today, we added an Active COVID-19 Cases page to our website in order to provide further transparency to our community. To view currently active and confirmed cases for each of our schools, please visit Dysart.org/Cases, or you may find the link on our Dysart.org webpage under Quick Links. We hope you will find this a helpful resource. 

Thank you for your continued partnership in this unique school year. Our combined efforts have gone far to contribute to keeping our students and staff safe and healthy.
 

 

 

September 17, 2020
 

Just a reminder that in-person classes for 5th-8th and 10th-12th grade students begin on Monday, September 21st. This in-person start date includes students in those grades that are in a specialized program such as STC, ASPIRE, or PBS.
 

FREE MEALS FOR CHILDREN - Remember that free breakfast and lunch is currently available Monday - Friday to all children 18 and under. Students attending in person can receive meals in the cafeteria, and iSchool students and others may use our NEW curbside pickup times from 11-11:30am at any Dysart school except Valley Vista High School. Details are posted at Dysart.org/meals.

IMMUNIZATION CLINICS - Don’t forget that the Maricopa County Department of Public Health has an Immunization Clinic on Monday, September 21 from 2:30 - 6:30 p.m. at El Mirage Elementary School at 13500 N. El Mirage Road. There is a second one on September 28 from 1:30 - 6:00 p.m. at Dysart’s Support Services facility located at 13825 W. Desert Cove Road, Surprise, 85379. Vaccinations are FREE for all children. Questions about the Immunization Clinic should be directed to Maricopa County Public Health at 602-506-6767. 

Please have a wonderful weekend and remember to checkDysart.org/BacktoSchool if you have any questions about health and safety protocols.
 

 

 

September 11, 2020
 

Just a reminder that in-person classes for Kindergarten-4th and 9th grade students begin on Monday, September 14. Our 5th-8th and 10th-12th grade students will begin in person on Monday, September 21st. These in-person start dates include students in those grades that are in a specialized program such as STC, ASPIRE, or PBS. We’re so excited to welcome our students back to campus!

Don’t forget that free breakfast and lunch is available Monday - Friday to all children 18 and under through December 31st. Students attending in person can receive meals in the cafeteria, and iSchool students and other community children may use our curbside pickup. Details are posted at Dysart.org/meals.

Tomorrow, Dysart is offering free hearing and vision screenings for students new to Dysart this year, or for those with an IEP. Screenings will take place tomorrow, Saturday, September 12 from 8am to 12pm at Dysart High School and Shadow Ridge High School.

Lastly, we want to let you know that the Maricopa County Department of Public Health is offering Immunization Clinics two times this month. The clinic on September 21 will be held from 2:30 - 6:30 p.m. at El Mirage Elementary School at 15800 N El Mirage Road, El Mirage, 85335. There is a second one on September 28 from 1:30 - 6:00 p.m. at Dysart’s Support Services Facility located at 13825 W. Desert Cove Road, Surprise, 85379. Vaccinations are FREE, and all children from preschool through 12th grade are invited. Families with or without insurance and those on AHCCCS are welcome to attend. Questions about the Immunization Clinic should be directed to Maricopa County Public Health at 602-506-6767. 

We hope you have a wonderful weekend and we look forward to seeing students on Monday! Remember to check Dysart.org/BacktoSchool if you have any questions about health and safety protocols.
 

 

 

September 8, 2020

We are happy to share that last week’s district health benchmark data continues to move in the right direction. As we prepare to return to in-person classes on Sept 14th (K-4, 9) and 21st (5-8, 10-12), we know there are many questions regarding what health and safety protocols and processes will be in place. District protocols are below. Each school may also have additional protocols specific to their campus. 

HEALTH
Families should screen their children for symptoms before sending them to school. Students must not come to school if they exhibit any of the following symptoms: fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, or chills; and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; muscle aches; sore throat; headache; fatigue; congestion or runny nose; cough; vomiting; diarrhea; or new loss of taste or smell. 
Face coverings are required - When students and staff arrive at school, face covers are required except while eating, or during recess or outdoor activities. Please note that our guidelines allow face masks, neck gaiters or face shields, as long as they fully cover both the mouth and nostrils. An exception may be made for students with medical conditions, those who have difficulty breathing or who are incapable of physically removing the face covering on his/her own. Masks should be made out of tightly woven fabric to minimize transmissions while talking, coughing, or sneezing.
Temperature checks will take place daily at school for all students and staff.

Air is purged from buildings and fresh outside air is brought in and cooled each morning. Air continues to be refreshed by 20% per hour throughout the day.

DISINFECTING
Daily disinfecting of high-touch surfaces - Surfaces in high-traffic areas will be disinfected regularly throughout the day. Classrooms and offices will be provided with cleaning supplies to disinfect learning spaces and high touch surfaces in between uses. 
Playground equipment will be disinfected on a regular basis.

HABITS
Staff have been trained on health and safety protocols and the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment. 
Students will be reminded to wash their hands frequently. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout each site and all bathrooms will remain open.
Each school has developed routines for traffic in hallways, seating assignments in classrooms and the cafeteria, and distancing on playgrounds.
School supplies will not be shared.
Laptops will be assigned to students, not shared. Devices can be wiped down with damp (not wet) wipes to disinfect.
Water fountains will be used only to refill water bottles.
Signage to remind us of healthy habits, hygiene and social distancing.

MEAL SERVICE
Meals will be served in closed containers - There will be no self-serve stations, or beverage fountains.  Students may also bring their own meals.
Touchless checkout will be implemented and staff will take steps to speed up lunch lines and keep as much distance as possible between students. 
Schools have developed procedures and schedules to help minimize the number of students in the cafeteria at one time.

BUSING
Buses will be disinfected between each run, and will undergo additional cleaning and disinfecting each night. 
Students will load from back to front and unload from front to back in order to minimize student contact.
Face coverings are required.
 

  

 

September 1, 2020

Dysart is proud to announce that the health benchmark data for the district is trending in the right direction. If the trend continues, beginning September 14, students in Kindergarten through 4th grade, and 9th grade students, will resume in-person learning in the classroom. Sundown Mountain students will also return to school on September 14. On September 21, 5th grade through 8th grade and 10th -12th graders will return to in-person classes. Students enrolled in iSchool will continue to learn online. 

Dysart already successfully phased in preschoolers earlier this week and on-site support for Exceptional Student Services students has also already begun. As a result of in-person classes resuming, the last day of all Learning Labs will be Friday, September 18. 

Buses will be starting their regular routes. Details about transportation eligibility, bus stops and times will be posted at Dysart.org/Transportation by the Friday before school begins for each group.
If your child is participating in full-time online iSchool, they will continue their independent lessons online as long as they are enrolled in iSchool. Teachers will assist iSchool students who need support. If you would like to change the learning format option you previously selected for your child, please contact your home school directly. 

The health and safety of our students and staff is a top priority. Dysart has implemented a number of safety protocols to provide a safe and clean environment when in-person classes resume. This includes:

  • Asking parents to screen their children for symptoms before school, and keep children home if they exhibit specific symptoms
  • Requiring face coverings for all staff and students except while eating, or during recess or outdoor activities
  • Daily temperature checks for all students and staff
  • Regular cleaning and disinfecting, especially on high touch surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations and cleaning supplies will be readily available.
  • Each school will develop routines for traffic in hallways, seating assignments in classrooms and the cafeteria, and distancing on playgrounds.


To view full details about health screenings, cleaning and disinfecting practices, and safety protocols, please visit Dysart.org/BacktoSchool. Dysart is so happy to welcome students back to school soon. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our community safe.