Superintendent's Message

Posted by Dr. Scott A. Menzel on 11/1/2020

The beginning of the 2020-21 school year began with our students learning from home, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. For the most part, they adjusted well, in no small part because of amazing support they received at home from their parents, but also because of our teachers, who once again embraced the challenges of distance learning with creativity, enthusiasm, skill and grace.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in Arizona in March, it has been our goal to bring students back to their school campuses as soon as public health officials advised that it was safe to do so. In close coordination with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and its Disease Prevention Medical Director, Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, we began phasing in student populations, slowly and carefully, on Sept. 14. When we returned from fall break on Oct. 12, all SUSD students whose families wished them to learn in person were in classrooms. For those families who chose to keep their students at home, we continue to offer instruction, either directly from their school or from Scottsdale Online, our long-established distance-learning program.

To prepare for students’ return, the District developed and implemented an extensive mitigation plan. In addition to having a registered nurse on each SUSD campus, we added 500 new hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations, upgraded air filtration systems, limited public access to schools, re-arranged classroom seating, provided staff with personal protective equipment and classrooms with cleaning supplies, and require everyone to wear a mask while they’re on District property, including buses. High touchpoints are cleaned throughout the school day and each campus is cleaned thoroughly each night.

Even so, COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community, and several of our high school sports teams and their close contacts, family members and coaches have had to quarantine, as have pockets of elementary and middle school students.

Our business is to provide the exceptional educational learning opportunities for which Scottsdale Unified is known, but to be able to continue to do that requires the support of our entire community. We want to keep our schools open, and we are planning for five-day, full-day K-12 schedules to resume in January, with continued online options for those who need it. We cannot do this alone.

Please help us - and protect yourself at the same time – by following these widely accepted public health recommendations: wear a mask when you are out and about, distance yourself physically as much as possible from others, wash your hands frequently and stay home if you’re sick.

We are also looking ahead to the 2021-22 school year and will open our District for online open enrollment applications beginning Nov. 2. Open enrollment is the method resident families use to change schools within the District and non-District families use to attend SUSD. Learn more at www.susd.org/enroll.

Lastly, for those of you who will have kindergarteners next school year, we encourage you to consult our website, www.susd.org, for ‘Five Hive’ events the week of Nov. 9 – 13 at our 19 kindergarten-grade schools.

Learn more about Scottsdale Unified School District and its award-winning academic, arts and athletic programs at www.susd.org.