NOGALES, Ariz. — Returning to school for on-site services is right around the corner for hundreds of students and educators.
Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District will welcome those students on Monday, while Nogales Unified School District will welcome them the following week -- both with COVID-19 protocols in place.
Those returning to school sooner for on-site services, include students with special needs and those who might not have another place to go.
"We'll have some of our teachers that will be on campus. Some of the students that will be participating in that are our special needs students, and so some of our special needs students who will have their actual teachers will be working with them. Then, we do have instructional aides that will be monitoring some of the other learning spaces,” said Santa Cruz Valley Unified Superintendent David Verdugo.
Both districts will provide teachers and students with face coverings, temperature checks will be given and social distancing will be enforced.
Nogales Unified is even having parents sign a waiver ahead of returning to school.
"Our parents of those students that will be returning are signing a waiver with their understanding that there is no guarantee that the risk will not be there," explained Nogales Unified Superintendent Francisco Parra.
Both districts said they asked their employees before they returned if they felt safe and both said testing will be available to students, staff, and families.
“Before we start in-person, we are actually going to have testing next week for staff on Thursday and Friday, and then any student that would like to that would be participating in our need-based on campus on starting on the 17th would also have the ability to be tested,” said Verdugo.
As for the traditional return to school, both are looking at a hybrid model.
"We, we anticipate monitoring the data again. As you probably know that our county was one of the highest positivity rates in the state. It's looking better, but we're not there yet," explained Parra.
The Nogales Unified School District explained it isn't putting a date on the return to in-person learning.
Santa Cruz Valley Unified is depending on the data as well, but is eyeing a start date after fall break. The district is even investing in protective dividers for younger students.
"If we started and then a spike occurred and then we'd have to try to stop again so hopefully by extending it, and being cautious, that we would have that continuity of instruction, and then also bring our students, staff, everybody safe. After a break," explained Verdugo.
Both districts have similar plans in place if an outbreak were to happen. Both said they would quarantine those effected and conduct contact tracing.