GILBERT, AZ — The governing board for Gilbert Public Schools voted Tuesday night to start the school year online August 5.
This, after Governor Ducey issued an order Monday that in-person instruction cannot begin until August 17. The order allows districts to begin remote learning before then.
"This isn't exactly what I want to do but at the end of the day I think it's our only move," said Superintendent Dr. Shane McCord.
The decision came after a lengthy, and at times emotional discussion regarding the many issues and uncertainty surrounding changes to the academic calendar, teacher contracts and keeping the district’s 33,000 students out of the classroom much longer. At one point, members were asked to consider starting the school year on August 17 and eliminating Fall break.
Members also approved three models of instruction for families once the new year begins. The fully remote model, a full time in-person model effective August 17, and a flex learning option that would also take effect once in-person instruction is allowed.
Safety measures for the in-person model include face coverings for students and staff (per state and local agency guidelines), reduced capacity in the cafeteria and on the playground, PPE for staff working with medically-fragile students, altered bus routes, staggered passing periods and release schedules, and all assemblies will be virtual.