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All Vail schools expected to resume Thursday

Several Vail Unified School District schools canceled classes Wednesday due to a shelter-in-place order resulting from Tuesday's deadly I-10 crash that resulted in a nitric acid spill. Photo via Google Earth.
Posted at 7:06 AM, Feb 15, 2023

Update: 3:42 p.m.

Vail schools will resume their normal hours on both Feb. 16 and 17.

All bus routes, including after-school and activity buses, will run their normal schedule.


Dear Vail Families,

We want to provide you with an update regarding the current plans for tomorrow and the remainder of this week.

Multiple public agency sources have reported that barring any unforeseen circumstances Interstate-10 should open around 8:00 this evening. At that time, it is also expected that the remaining “shelter in place” will be lifted.

Assuming the above occurs as expected, school will reopen at all regularly scheduled times, including zero hour classes as well as before and after school programs on Thursday, February 16th. All bus routes will run as normally scheduled including after school and activity buses.

There have been several questions about what needs to be done to clean schools within the one-mile “shelter in place” radius prior to opening them for students. We have received clear guidance from the Pima County Health Department who has been working in conjunction with Pima County Poison Control regarding this question. Their guidance is as follows:

-There is no need to change HVAC filters or clean ductwork.

-There is no need to clean or wipe down indoor surfaces.

Before students return tomorrow, we will be washing down and spraying with water and a mild detergent exterior surfaces including water fountains and play equipment at all of the schools in the “shelter in place” radius.

Please note that no student will be marked absent for February 15th. Further, the day will not need to be made up at a later date.

We would also like to remind you that this Friday, February 17th is a half-day for all students.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership. We look forward to celebrating your children’s successes and our community support of young people at Vail Pride Day this Saturday. We will see you there!

John Carruth


Update: 3:42 p.m.

"None of the additional 22 schools other than the original five were impacted as far as being in the shelter in place zone at that time," John Carruth, Vail Unified School District Superintendent said. "It was more out of a sense of there's a lot of traffic in our area with I-10 and being closed down and interstate traffic being routed through our area."

Meanwhile school officials are working with Pima County Health officials to determine if any of their schools will need clean up crews from the spill.

"We're also working with county officials on what this looks like as far as mitigation, if any is needed. This isn't an issue that just impacts a school. It also impacts every resident in that area,"Carruth said.

Since the closure of all Vail Unified Schools was decided a little late in the morning some students still went to school.

"Any student who arrived to campus arrived in a safe place that had staff also on that campus. And so we simply worked with those students and are continuing to work with them to they can remain there," Carruth said. "We're calling parents in, it's their choice to come get them if they want to do that at that time or they can have their students remain and if they need transportation home we'll provide that transportation to home."

Carruth says that he plans on opening up all the Vail schools on Thursday in less of authorities deem it not safe.


All Vail Unified School District schools canceled classes Wednesday due to a shelter-in-place order resulting from Tuesday's deadly I-10 crash that resulted in a nitric acid spill.

Here is the latest message the district sent to families:

Dear Parents,

At 8:50 a.m. public agencies coordinating the I-10 incident requested that all Vail Schools close for the day for both safety and to help ease traffic congestion around the area.

If a student is already at school or en-route to school, they are safe and can remain at school. Staff are currently on site. Parents are welcome to come pick their children up at any time. If parents need afternoon bus service for their children, we will provide regular afternoon bus routes to get them home.

Shortly before DPS requested we close schools, they expanded the “shelter in place” zone to three miles from the incident due to changing conditions at the scene. Only the four Rita Ranch schools and Vail Academy and High School are within the expanded “shelter in place” zone. Those schools have been closed since 6:00 a.m. No other school is impacted by this expansion.

John Carruth



Phil Villarreal is the senior real-time editor for KGUN 9. He is also a digital producer and host of "Phil on Film" seen weekly on Good Morning Tucson, Phil moved to KGUN after 17 years with the Arizona Daily Star. He is married and has four children. Share your story ideas and important issues with Phil by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.