• Returning with Excellence

    To provide school and learning opportunities for 100% of students.
    Priorities for all students and staff  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Please note, with new information these responses may be revised.

    August 21, 2020


    Q:  What is Onsite Learning that is in the Governor’s Executive Order #51?
    A:  Onsite Learning is a safe place for students to do their  school work  during the day if their parents may not be home or they have no access to technology. It is a combination of a study hall and daycare supervised by classified staff, not teachers.

    Q: When does Onsite Learning start?
    A: Per the Governor’s Executive Order, Onsite Learning will begin on August 17th and continue until school starts in-person.  CCUSD is planning to start in-person learning on September 8,2020.

    Q: How does a student sign up for onsite learning?
    A: A letter will be going out to all CCUSD families along with a form to return if they want to sign up their student(s).  The Governor has asked that certain groups of students be prioritized for onsite learning: English Language Learners, students who receive Free and Reduced lunch, special education students, homeless students, foster Children, and children of First Responders. 

    Q: Where will the onsite learning be held?
    A: After we receive the forms back from families, we will assess which school sites will house the onsite learning.  At minimum, there will be a school site for elementary students and a site for secondary students.

    Q:  Will there be transportation?
    A: Transportation will be provided for in-district students.

    Q: What will the day look like?
    A: Onsite learning will run through the typical school day hours.  Students will need their technology and earbuds with them so they can be “in class” either through the Distance Learning or online instruction. They will have breaks, they can bring their breakfast or lunch; or breakfast-lunch can be purchased or provided if on free and reduced lunch. Students will be in large spaces, such as cafeterias for  physical distancing and face coverings will be required when physical distancing is not possible. 

    Q: Has the high school academic plan changed?
    A: The educational options for Cactus Shadows High School have been expanded.  All CSHS parents should have received information via email.  Note:  if you are a CSHS parent and you did not receive this email, you may have checked “private” when you updated the Annual Elements in the Parent Portal.  “Private” blocks you from receiving any school information on email.  To reverse this, please email

    Q:  What will a typical student day look like?
    A:  Option 1
    Elementary (K-2, 3-4 varied start times)
    Morning: Morning Message, ELA & Math
    Afternoon: Specials, WL, Science/SS Projects
    Parent Workshop

    Elementary (5-6)
    Morning: Morning Message, Block 1, 2, 3
    Afternoon: Block 4, Specials, WL
    Parent Workshop 

    7:40-2:30 6 Period Block Schedule
    11:30-12:10  Lunch
    2:30-3:30 Office Hours

    6:20-2:00  7 Period Block Schedule
    11:10-12:10  Lunch
    2:00-3:00 Office Hours

    Option 2:  Students will be online with parent and teacher support based on the parent’s schedule for learning.

    Q:  Will there be any school-wide events this year?
    A: All school-wide events will be virtual until further notice. This includes any Back to School events to kick off the year. More information will be provided by the individual schools.

    Q: If I keep my child at their brick and mortar school that will begin with Distance Learning instead of transferring to the Cave Creek Academy of Excellence (CCAOE), will the experience be the same as last spring’s online experience?
    A: No, this would be new learning for a new grade for all students.Grades will be given and attendance will be taken. Therefore, children will be expected to attend daily sessions and will be expected to complete assignments and engage in daily activities. These lessons will take place during the regular school hours (for instance, for elementary between 9:00 am and 3:30pm). This does not mean that students will be online for that entire time. We understand that we must provide breaks from screen time and so teachers will  offer short lessons, small group instruction, and flexibility when possible. Teachers will create activities and videos that students will do asynchronously (not live sessions) and will also hold live sessions for direct instruction, feedback, and more. Students will also participate in special areas and electives.

    Q: Will students share materials once we return to school?
    A: Students will not share personal materials in class. Other items (such as technology and other classroom materials) that must be shared will be cleaned before and after use.

    Q: Once students return physically to their schools, will students remain in the same seat all day long?
    A: No. Elementary students will still travel to special area classes, the lunchroom and the playground. We believe it is important that students are able to move around the campus and those opportunities will be provided. Secondary students will follow their schedule and change classes. Please note that in order to do this safely, there may be some schedule time changes and advanced cleaning protocols in place.

    Q: Will lunch and recess look different than before?
    A: In the past, students would go to lunch and recess in large groups. Once we can physically return to the campus, elementary students will travel to lunch and recess with their homeroom class. Keeping groups of students consistent will minimize the number of students they come in contact with during the day but still allow them the social experiences that are vital for their development. In the lunchroom, students will be spaced out as much as possible. When buying lunches, students will no longer punch in a number but instead will use a touchless process. Meals will be served on disposable food service items. The shared condiment table and sharing tables will not be used during this time. Students will wash their hands before and after lunch and the cafeterias will be cleaned between lunch periods.

    Q: How will the schools be cleaned?
    A: The District has ordered sanitizer for classrooms and common areas, cleaning supplies for classrooms to be ready to start the school year. Disinfectant sprayers will be used to  sanitize classrooms prior to each school day as well as  buses between runs. Our cleaning contractor, building custodial staff, building staff and students will all have a part in keeping our school spaces as clean as possible.

    Q: What curriculum will the Cave Creek Academy of Excellence (CCAOE Online School) use?
    A: Students will participate in an online curriculum purchased by CCUSD specifically for this program. Edmentum will be used for K-8 and Edgenuity will be used for 9-12.

    Q: Will the curriculum be the same in both the online school (CCAOE) and face to face school?
    A: No. Our brick and mortar schools will continue to use CCUSD specific curriculum while the new online school will use an online curriculum developed specifically for online schools. This is one of the reasons that transferring between schools is best at the end of grading periods (quarters and semesters).

    Q: If the online school, CCAOE, will be taught by CCUSD teachers. Can you provide more information about who the teachers will be?
    A: Enrollment dictates staffing in schools and so once we know how many students are transferring from each CCUSD school into the CCAOE online school, we will know how many teachers will be needed. CCUSD teachers will then be given the opportunity to transfer to teach in the online school to open positions. Teachers transferring to the online school would continue to be an employee of CCUSD and this newest online school, CCAOE, unless they transfer back to a brick and mortar CCUSD school at a later date.

    Q:  Who will run the online school?
    A: The acting principal for the CCAOE will be Dr. Toya Abrams, the CCUSD Director of Instruction and Federal Programs.

    Q: What will happen if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID?
    A: We will follow Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) guidelines and the procedure will depend on how much exposure there might have been (where the student or staff member went in the school, who they have been in contact with, etc). It will be case dependent. We would close off the areas that were exposed for a prolonged period; wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting; clean after 24 hours; notify any who were possibly exposed. We have been told that MCDPH will advise schools on procedures and a document is forthcoming that we will use that to make those decisions.

    Q: Once in-person school resumes, will there be student clubs?
    A: All face to face clubs will be canceled until further notice. If a club is able to take place virtually, they may begin at any time.

    Q: What will the options be for students in the upcoming school year?
    A: CCUSD will have two options.  Option 1 is for the families that want their children to return to Face to Face Learning, hopefully on September 8th.  Until that time, these students will be in a Distance Learning Program starting on August 5th. 

    Option 2  is a CCUSD Arizona Online Instruction School beginning on August 5, 2020. This additional CCUSD School #8 is named Cave Creek Academy of Excellence (AOE).  Students who enroll in and attend this school will not return to face to face instruction when the Distance Learning Program ends and students return to school buildings. These students will remain in the Cave Creek Academy of Excellence for instruction.

    Q:  How will families make these choices for their students?
    A:  Parents will receive communication from CCUSD next week in order to make these choices for their students. 

    Q: What if I choose the Cave Creek Academy of Excellence for my student and we decide we would prefer the Face to Face Opton, what is the change process?
    A:  In order to not cause frequent disruption to the Face to Face or the AOE classrooms, elementary students may withdraw from the Academy of Excellence at the end of a quarter and enroll in one of our Face to Face Elementary Schools.  Secondary students may withdraw at the end of the semester and enroll in one of our Face to Face Secondary Schools.  

    Q:  How does the Governor’s Executive Order on June 29th affect CCUSD Schools?
    A:  The Governor’s Executive Order delayed the opening of face-to-face school until at least August 17th.  CCUSD does not want to delay our students’ education for the 2020-2021 school year any longer and will open virtually on August 5th as planned with online schooling. 

    Q:  When will the details be announced for the Aug. 5th reopening online?
    A:  Plans are being finalized this week.  

    Q:  Will preschool students have to wear face coverings?
    A:  Yes, Preschool students will wear face coverings for in-person school.  However, students participating in the Little Falcons Program or in the developmental preschool classrooms are expected to wear face coverings.  If they are not yet able to do so, due to their individual unique needs, the student's team will work with the student to build their capacity to wear a face covering or shield.

    Q:  Why haven’t we received CCUSD’s plan for reopening?
    A: CCUSD has three committees actively working on the 2020-2021 school year:  Return to School Team (academic program), Logistics for Reopening School Committee (operational concerns) and the Social-emotional Well-being Committee (for student and staff support).  After gathering and reviewing parent and staff input from surveys, we will continue to update you as decisions are made.  We should have information out this week so parents can think about and make decisions for which option they will choose for their students.

    Q:  Will there be temperature checks at school?
    A:    A parent/guardian will check their child’s temperature prior to leaving for school and keep the child at home if the temperature is at or above 100.4 degrees. The Health Office will check temperatures if symptoms are displayed.  

    Q:  What safety measures will be in place on the school bus?
    A:   Drivers, monitors and riders will be required to wear a face covering; students will sit in assigned seats, with household members if possible; whenever possible, students will be physically distanced; a waiver must be signed in order for students to ride the bus; and seats immediately behind the driver and around the bus aide will remain empty.

    Q:  Will students have to wear face coverings?
    A:  All PreK-12 students and staff will wear face coverings (when social distancing is not possible) to protect themselves and others. One cloth face-covering will be provided for every student.

    Q: Will visitors be allowed on campus?
    A: No parents/guardians, volunteers, or outside visitors will be allowed past the reception desk. Until further notice, only essential visitors will be allowed on CCUSD campuses. An essential visitor will include CCUSD employees or contractors on campus for business purposes, including ECS instructors. Once we are able, we look forward to welcoming our CCUSD Community back onto our campuses.

    Q:  What is the status of Fall sports? (high school)
    A:  The Fall sports season will begin when it is safe to do so.  CSHS is currently in Phase I conditioning and will go to Phase II on Monday, August 24, 2020.


    Q:  If my student is enrolled in the CCAOE, can they participate in sports and clubs at their previous school?  (high school)
    A:  Yes.  However, students who are newly open enrolled in CCUSD may not participate in sports due to AIA guidelines.