Skip to Content Skip to Footer Accessibility Concerns

Back to School FAQs - 2020-2021

The following frequently asked questions have been compiled to answer many 2020-2021 questions about health and safety protocols.  This compiled list will be updated with new questions as received.

Frequently Asked Question Topics:  

Full Time Classroom

What about assemblies?
Large group gatherings, such as school assemblies and book fairs will be suspended until further notice and will be re-evaluated throughout the year.

Will I be able to volunteer at my child’s school?
Nonessential visitors and volunteers will have limited access to school sites.

What health/safety measures will be in place?

  • Staff and students are required to wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible (Exception lunch, recess, outdoor activities) 
  • Temperature checks: 2x/day, hand washing/2 hrs (per CDC threshold)(K-8)
  • No large group assemblies indoors
  • All desks face forward. Tables and flex furniture rearranged and excessive furniture removed
  • Max 3 per small group
  • 1:1 devices 
  • No shared textbooks or materials
  • No shared manipulatives
  • Traditional recess, plus hand wash/sanitize
  • Health plans for at-risk students
  • Healthy habits signage 
  • Classrooms and offices will be provided with cleaning supplies to disinfect learning and high touch surfaces. 
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout each site.
  • Each school will develop social distancing routines for traffic in hallways, which may include signage and floor markings.
  • All bathrooms will remain open. Surfaces will be disinfected regularly throughout the day.
  • Students will be reminded to wash hands throughout the school day.
  • Students will not share school supplies

Full Time Online (Dysart iSchool)

What if my child is in the Cambridge program? How will that work for the Full-time Online option?
Cambridge is only available at the school site and is not an option for iSchool

If a high school senior has to complete classes online through iSchool, will they still be able to graduate with their class?
Yes, iSchool students will be able to graduate with their class.

Can Full-Time Online students participate in athletics?
If students are enrolled through Dysart’s iSchool program, they may participate in athletics.  However, please contact your local school to determine eligibility requirements.

Can Full-Time Online students participate in after school activities?
Yes, Full-time Online students can participate in before and after school activities

How will specials work remotely?
Full-time Online students will also be enrolled in their grade appropriate electives along with their core courses

How will performing arts classes work?
Full Time iSchool students will have the opportunity to participate in arts programs before and after school on the campus they last attended or are boundaried for. Elective courses related to the arts are also available for HS students. K-8 students in iSchool have special area classes which includes the arts.

Are iSchool Classes Taught Live?
iSchool is designed for independent learning with teacher support. Teachers are available to assist and respond to students who need assistance.



Will the district be providing computers to all K-12 students?
Chromebook will be available for checkout if needed PK - 8.  High schools will be 1:1. 

How will the laptop check-outs work? Will there be a fee?
Chromebooks will be available for checkout if needed PK - 8. Fees will be assessed for damage or loss.  High schools will be 1:1 and parents offered an Insurance option.  Schools will be in touch as the start of school approaches with more details regarding chromebook distribution.

What if we don’t have WiFi?
Please discuss with your student’s teacher or site administrator so that they are aware and can work with you and your child(ren). Here are some resources that may help.

What if we have multiple children?
One device may be checked out, per Dysart student, if needed.


Special Education/IEPs

How will social distancing work with medically fragile and special needs kids?
If social distancing is not possible, then proper PPE would be used. (Gloves, Masks/Shields, proper hand washing, etc).

Will all class format options be available for Special Education students and students with IEPs?
All options will be available for consideration for students with an IEP, however, some models may not be a good fit for some students. Parents should discuss their child’s specific situation with the school to determine the best model for their student. At this time, services will be provided in the following manners:

  • Remote Learning - students will receive their instruction and services virtually by their teachers and services providers. There will be scheduled times for their specially designed instruction and related services, just as there would be in person. 
  • Full-time Classroom - students will continue to receive all instruction and services while physically on campus, with enhanced protocols put in place by the district.
  • Full-time Online - students will receive their content area instruction from their iSchool general education teachers virtually. They will also receive their special education services virtually from their iSchool service providers. There will be specific staff allocated to case managing and provide services to students in iSchool as part of their caseload. 

How will this work with kids who are on IEP's?
Students who receive special education services on an IEP will also have options, though each student’s unique circumstances might affect which options are possible. There will be some IEP teams that need to meet as soon as possible (even before school), to be able to consider if a student can receive a FAPE in a given option.


Will masks be required on buses?
Face coverings shall be required on school buses when social distancing is not possible, with the exception of students with medical conditions. Students should not be sent to the bus stop if they are exhibiting the above symptoms.

What health and safety will be in place on buses?
Buses will be disinfected between each run during the day, and will undergo additional cleaning and disinfecting each night. Students will board the bus back to front and exit the bus front to back. Face coverings shall be required on school buses when social distancing is not possible, with the exception of students with medical conditions.


Health/Safety Protocols

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 pain-relieving medication.  

How should families report if a person in the household has tested positive?
Families 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. Students in the household with direct contact with the person who tested positive should quarantine for 10-days from the onset of symptoms. If anyone else in the household tests positive, the 10-day quarantine time begins again.

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.

What is the protocol for contact with a positive COVID case at a school site?
Parents/guardians will be notified if their child has direct or indirect contact. 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.  Students who have direct contact will be quarantined for 10 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 15 minutes, or in direct contact with someone who has a person in their household who has tested positive. Students 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 with direct contact is required to quarantine for 10 calendar days, per ADPH and CDC guidelines, and we are required to notify local health officials of anyone testing positive in our schools.  Schools have been asked by Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) to verify all positive COVID test results. Per ADPH, if you already had COVID-19 and completed the isolation period, then come in contact with someone who is positive within three months from your testing date, additional quarantine is not required. 

Beginning March 22, 2021, we have adopted the new CDC-approved option that states parents may choose to shorten the length of the COVID-19 quarantine period for those with a direct contact, with proof of a negative PCR or ANTIGEN test result. Students may return to school on day 8 ONLY if a negative PCR or ANTIGEN test is taken on day 6 or 7 of the assigned quarantine. Parents are asked to provide the negative test results to the health office for review. Once approved, the student may return to school on day 8 instead of day 11. Please note this option applies only to those that have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive.  Anyone who has tested positive must remain in isolation for the full 10 days, or until they are symptom free for 24 hrs.

What will be the criteria for requiring classrooms or entire schools to close? 
School closures will be determined in conjunction with county and state health departments. If a closure is necessary, parents will be notified, and learning will continue remotely, using the same curriculum, for the mandated closure period. 

How will student learning be handled during a quarantine period? 
Temporary quarantines may be necessary for a classroom or school. During quarantine periods, students will continue learning remotely using Schoology and Florida Virtual curriculum.

How will temperature checks work?
Temperature checks will be conducted daily for students and staff. Thermometers are provided in each classroom and front office. A staff member will visually check each student and take temperatures with a non-contact thermometer. Any student with visible symptoms of runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, or vomiting, or one who has a fever at or above 100.4 degrees, will go to the health office. The health office will use this document to evaluate student health.

Is a face shield an approved alternative to a face mask?

How can a child wear a face mask in the cafeteria while eating?
Face covers are not required while eating, during recess, or outdoor activities.

Will there be hand sanitizing stations for students to use?
Yes. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout each site, including at each cafeteria.

My child cannot wear a mask at school, but online is not an option for them. What can I do?
Any student who has difficulty breathing or who is incapable of physically removing the face covering on his/her own will not wear cloth face coverings, and alternate methods of protection will be discussed by parents and staff.

Will employees be required to wear face coverings?

Will students be 6ft apart in classrooms?
Teachers will arrange classroom furniture to maximize the distance between students.

Will masks be provided?
Students are encouraged to bring their own face coverings in compliance with the dress code. Disposable masks will be available, if needed.

What if my child forgets their mask at home?
Disposable masks will be available, if needed.

Doesn’t the mask mandate exclude young children and those with medical issues?
For students 5 and under, we will be making reasonable efforts to encourage children to wear a face covering unless they are a student who: has trouble breathing; are unable to remove the mask/shield without assistance; has severe cognitive or respiratory impairments; or other medical conditions that would make them medically exempt.

Maricopa County Mask Regulation: Effective as of 12:00 a.m. on June 20, 2020, all persons in Maricopa County who do not qualify for an exemption… must wear a Face Covering under the following circumstances: All patrons age six and over are required to wear Face Coverings while inside the enclosed area of any Place of Public Accommodation; Adult patrons accompanying children aged two through five shall use reasonable efforts to cause those children to wear Face Coverings while inside the enclosed area of any Place of Public Accommodation. 

City of Surprise Face Covering Requirement: “Effective Saturday, June 20, every person over the age of two is required to wear a face covering while in all public settings within the City of Surprise where it is difficult to maintain a minimum physical distance of six (6) feet from others who do not live in the same residence.”

What about kids with special needs who just won’t keep a mask on for medical reasons?
Face coverings shall be required at school when social distancing is not possible, with the exception of students with medical conditions. Any student who has difficulty breathing or who is incapable of physically removing the face covering on his/her own will not wear cloth face coverings, and alternate methods of protection will be discussed by parents and staff.

If the local requirement for face masks is lifted, will they still be required at school?
We will continue to take direction from state, health and education officials and re-evaluate the situation, as needed.

Will schools do contact tracing?
When Dysart staff becomes aware of a potential COVID-19 exposure, we try to determine, to the best of our ability, the last date/time that students may have had direct or indirect contact with this person, and who may have been exposed. We would then take appropriate actions and notify the appropriate parties about the potential exposure.

Will absences be counted if they are COVID-19 related?
Attendance will be taken daily, however, students will have the opportunity to make up work missed due to symptoms of COVID-19.


Food Service

How will lunches work?
The USDA has approved the extension of our Summer Meal Service through December 31 or until the Federal funding for this program is depleted. Beginning immediately, all children 18 and younger can receive free breakfast and lunch at any Dysart school. Breakfast and lunch meal service is available Monday-Friday through drive-thru curbside pickup, or in the school cafeterias, for those attending Learning Labs or in-person classes.  

How will food service work this year?

For Full-time Classroom students, lunch service will continue in the cafeterias:  

  • Hand sanitizing stations will be placed at each cafeteria.
  • Cafeteria staff will keep as much distance as possible between students. Outdoor seating may be available.
  • Food will be served in closed containers. There will be no open food,  self-serve stations, or beverage fountains (at high schools).
  • Cafeteria staff will take steps to speed up lunch lines and use touchless checkout. 


What criteria is used to evaluate if schools should close?

Dysart is following 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.”

Is it safe to have schools remain open?
The CDC and Maricopa County Department of Public Health support students being in school. The CDC Director, Robert Redfield, recently noted that “...for kids K-12, one of the safest places they can be, from our perspective, is to remain in school…” 
In a December Maricopa County Department of Public Health update, they noted the following: 
- “In discussions with ADHS, MCDPH and ADHS have agreed to support those jurisdictions who are able to maintain a  safe learning environment with regular school-by-school monitoring, regardless of levels of community COVID-19  transmission.”
- “Further, with the recent publications emphasizing the benefits of in-person learning, particularly for elementary schools, and the emerging data indicating that in-person school attendance is not a risk factor for youth testing positive for COVID 19, MCDPH recommends preferentially keeping elementary and middle schools open for in-person learning.”

What Curriculum will be used this year?
Teachers will use a consistent learning platform in all school models, so that at any point during the school year, students and teachers will be able to seamlessly transition back to remote learning, should school closures become necessary again. We are planning to use Florida Virtual Curriculum across the district.

Will attendance awards be given this year?
Schools will not give out attendance awards for the duration of the COVID-19 health crisis.

If a parent chooses a specific model, are they locked into that model for a certain amount of time?
We understand that your preferences may change. Please contact your child's home school if you would like to request a change.

Who can I contact if I have more questions?
Please contact your child’s school if you have additional questions.

I’ve never been on the Parent Portal, how can I log in?
Instructions for logging into the Parent Portal may be found at

Will Den’s Club before and after care be offered?
Yes, Den’s Club will be available for before and after school care. Details may be found at

How will field trips work this year?
Field trips will be suspended until further notice and will be re-evaluated throughout the year. Virtual field trips may take place.

How will athletic and arts competitions work this year?
Athletic and arts competitions will continue to be held, per the AIA and Arts Associations’ guidelines.

Will athletic classes still happen if the season is affected?
Athletic classes will continue as scheduled, regardless of if the season is impacted. The high school athletic seasons are currently on track with the AIA, with a few modified dates.

Are high school iSchool teachers also classroom teachers?
Yes,  All of the iSchool High School teachers are classroom teachers at their assigned high school campus.