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Parent Communications


April 19, 2021

Dear CFSD Community,

Today Governor Ducey rescinded a section of Executive Order 2020-51, issued in July directing schools to require face masks, and Emergency Measure 2020-04, issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) outlining requirements for mask usage in schools.

In the new Executive Order 2021-10, K-12 school districts still maintain the right to institute and enforce policies to mitigate against COVID-19 spread, including the use of masks.

In CFSD, our mask requirement remains in place at least through the end of the school year.  Masks are and will continue to be an important part of our mitigation plan.

Thank you for your continued support of our prevention strategies, which will enable us to finish the school year strong, healthy, and safe.

Catalina Foothills School District #16





March 30, 2021

Dear CFSD Community:

Pima County has moved to the COVID-19 Moderate Transmission category, according to the latest update from the Arizona Department of Health Services. Per the Governor's Executive Order 2021-04, all public schools must now be open for in-person, teacher-led instruction to any family that requests it.

If your student would like to return to campus and you have not previously requested a move to in-person learning, please contact your school's principal.  At grades K-5, please be aware that there is the possibility of a teacher change, depending on the number of requests.  At grades 6-12, if you are already on a waitlist to return, your school will contact you within a week about the start date for the transition to in-person learning.

We continue to be dedicated to following our CFSD mitigation plan (e.g., masking, physical distancing to the greatest extent possible, hand washing, sanitizing).  Your support has made it possible for all of our schools to remain open for in-person learning, without disruption, since last fall.  Thank you.


Catalina Foothills School District #16




March 26, 2021

Dear CFSD Community,

Yesterday, Arizona Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order that relaxes COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and public gatherings. However, it does not remove the mask mandate for schools. Mask-wearing remains a requirement on all CFSD campuses. 

We continue to evaluate new COVID-19 guidance as we receive it. As always, we remain dedicated to following our mitigation plan in order to keep our students and staff safe and our classrooms open for learning.

Your ongoing support continues to be vital to us. Thank you.


Catalina Foothills USD #16




January 1, 2021

Dear CFSD Family,

Happy New Year! We look forward to reconnecting with our students, both in-person and remote learners, on Monday, January 4. 

If you would like to request a change from in-person learning to 100% remote learning for your middle or high school student, please email your school's principal/assistant principal to find out if that can be accommodated. Our administrators are available to respond today and over the weekend to your inquiry. Please understand that changes at the elementary level cannot be accommodated at this time.


Catalina Foothills School District




December 16, 2020

Dear CFSD Families,

We are so grateful for your support. We never take for granted the decision that you made to enroll your student in a CFSD school. Thank you. 

We want to update you on our COVID cases. Since our last communication on November 20, we have had 27 new cases in CFSD. Overall, the number of confirmed cases in our schools remains very low. Note: The cases reported before that date have been resolved.

Canyon View Elementary = 0

Catalina Foothills High School = 13

Esperero Canyon Middle School = 3

Manzanita Elementary School = 0

Orange Grove Middle School = 9

Sunrise Drive Elementary School = 0

Valley View Early Learning Center = 1

Ventana Vista Elementary School = 1

The Pima County Health Department (PCHD) notes that the overwhelming majority of school-related cases are not acquired in the classroom. That is our experience. CFSD students and staff are not spreading the virus at school. We believe that our mitigation strategies are making a difference. Thank you for your continued vigilance as we all work to protect ourselves and each other.

We want to keep our schools open, following the current models for in-person and remote instruction. The COVID case counts in Pima County school districts vary significantly. As a result, the decisions about in-person or remote learning will differ as well and are made based on a school district's local circumstances. The PCHD supports the local decision.

We ask that you contact your school administration during the Winter Break if your student or someone with whom they had close contact tested positive for COVID. We want to maintain an up-to-date record of cases even though our campuses are not open.

Best wishes for a peaceful holiday season and a safe return to learning on January 4, 2021.


Mary Kamerzell




November 20, 2020

Dear  Families,

As CFSD is now at the four-week mark of reopening our schools for in-person learning, we want to give you a look at the CFSD COVID-19 case counts by school. We are seeing low prevalence rates overall, despite the surge in cases being seen elsewhere.

Here are our findings since reopening for in-person learning (10/26):

  • 19 positive cases have been reported in CFSD.

o   Canyon View Elementary School = 0

o   Catalina Foothills High School = 15

o   Esperero Canyon Middle School = 2

o   Manzanita Elementary School = 1

o   Orange Grove Middle School = 1

o   Sunrise Drive Elementary School = 0

o   Valley View Early Learning Center = 0

o   Ventana Vista Elementary School = 0

  • In our case count, we include all students (both in-person as well as remote learners who have been on campus for an activity  prior to their positive result), and employees. 
  • Most of the cases are associated with sports activities.
  • The Pima County Health Department’s case investigation has revealed no cases in CFSD of disease transmission within the classroom or the workplace.
  • No CFSD teacher or other employee has had to quarantine due to exposure at school.

Our data indicate that the CFSD Mitigation Plan is effective. Infections are not being transmitted at school.  Thank you for helping us reinforce the importance of mask-wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing.

Looking ahead, we want to avoid intermittent opening and closing of our schools, if possible. We really want to keep our schools open for in-person learning. We must continue taking steps to protect the health of our community. Eventually, we hope for a pathway to the gradual resumption of more in-person student activities as health conditions allow.

For now, sticking with tried-and-true safety protocols over the holidays will be critical in limiting virus spread. The link below to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website provides recommendations about holiday celebrations and travel. We appreciate you staying vigilant as you protect yourself, your loved ones, and our community.  

Please enjoy this holiday season.





October 8, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As you are aware, October 26 is the target date to return to our schools for In-Person Learning.

In order to prepare for October 26, we request that you complete the Parent/Guardian Survey for Return to In-Person Learning, which can be found in ParentVUE. This binding survey provides you with the option to select “In-Person Learning” or “Remote Learning” for your student(s). Your decision is vitally important in order to finish the preparations that still need to occur prior to October 26. Regardless of the option selected, CFSD is committed to providing high-quality instruction to ALL students.

The survey selection for each student is binding through the time period outlined on the school’s “Return to In-Person Learning Fact Sheet.”

Please read the attached “Fact Sheet” to learn about the specific details for In-Person and Remote Learning implementation at your student’s school.

If you have students at more than one CFSD school, you will find that each plan has variances based on capacity, staff, and resources. It is recommended that you read the “Fact Sheet” for each school before completing the surveys. You need to complete a separate survey for each CFSD enrolled student.

The schools have scheduled Town Hall meetings to present and discuss individual plans. Check your school’s newsletters or the district website (planning updates) for more details.

How do I take the survey?

  • Find your student’s ID number (found in ParentVUE – at the top of the home screen). There you will find the Student IDs for all of your enrolled students.
  • Click on the “Student Info” tab in the menu on the left side of the screen. This will open the “Student Info” page.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the “Student Info” page and you will find the link that takes you to the page with the individual school surveys.
  • Please complete a separate survey for each of your CFSD enrolled students.

The survey will close on October 14 at 11:59pm.

Thank you for your cooperation and partnership during this transition period.


Catalina Foothills School District

September 16, 2020

Dear CFSD Families:

As we prepare for the reopening of CFSD schools for in-person teaching and learning, the health and safety of students, staff, and the community remain CFSD's top priority.

Our plan is to offer an in-person learning option beginning Monday, October 26. This is an aspirational date, depending on changing local public health data. We are hopeful that the Pima County health metrics will continue to move in the right direction. In addition to our in-person option, we will continue to offer a 100% remote learning option for students.

As we transition to in-person learning, we want to give you a look at our planning and decision-making process, which is illustrated in the attached Return to In-Person Learning: Timeline of Activities. We are working through a series of steps to finalize a durable and responsive plan to welcome students back. We are moving forward from a strong position since much of the groundwork of an in-person learning option was set over the summer.

Our next step is to hear from you. Later today, you will receive a brief survey about how you and your student are feeling about going back to school in-person. Your response will help us get a sense of how many students are inclined to come back to school. In October, we will be sending you a 'binding' survey, where you will select a learning option, either in-person or remote, for your student.

We are looking forward to welcoming students back to our classrooms.


Mary Kamerzell

CFSD Return to In-Person_Timeline of Activities.pdf 



September 3, 2020


Dear CFSD Families,

Today, All Pima County superintendents received a message from the Pima County Health Department's (PCHD) Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Francisco Garcia.

In his statement on behalf of the Department, he said that the PCHD concludes that it is not safe to move into an in-person learning phase of instruction in Pima County at this time, contrary to today's news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

There are two reasons for this PCHD recommendation:

First, Pima County's metrics in terms of hospital and public health capacity continue to be of concern.

Second, the PCHD is 'very concerned' about the large number of cases associated with the University of Arizona. The negative impact of these cases will not become evident for two more weeks.

As I communicated last week, we will not override the judgment of our county public health officials on the question of when it is safe to reopen for in-person instruction. We will continue to offer 100% remote instruction for now.



Mary Kamerzell




August 28, 2020


Dear CFSD Community,

We have now concluded two weeks of remote learning. Hopefully, your experience has been a positive one.

I want to give you an update on where we are and where we are going to reopen our schools in-person.

Last May we began our contingency planning for reopening our schools for both in-person and for remote learning options.  The workload required of our staff was huge. When I told you earlier this summer that it was a 24/7 effort, that was not an exaggeration.  We have a great team, and they have worked relentlessly in the face of some of the most demanding conditions ever seen.  Through it all, our teachers are meeting the challenge to deliver high-quality remote learning instruction across the district.  

Let's talk about how we got here.  Since March, Pima County school district superintendents have met at least once a week.  We continue to do so to coordinate our efforts to the greatest extent possible.

Several of those meetings were with Pima County Health Department officials.  In mid-June, we made a formal request for the Department’s recommendations for when it would be safe to reopen schools for in-person instruction.  As you know, on July 28, they provided a definitive recommendation that it was not safe to reopen.  As a result, we moved to 100% remote learning.  After asking for the recommendations for several weeks, once received, we weren’t going to ignore them. We won’t substitute our judgment for that of our public health officials.

We need the same definitive recommendation that it is safe to start reopening schools for in-person learning.

  The Arizona Department of Health Services has been clear from the get-go that it recommends that we work closely with our county health department because they have the most accurate data for our local area. 

The Pima County Health Department has a dashboard with nine (9) criteria that will influence a decision about reopening. The criteria are rated from red to green like a traffic light.  From Pima County Health Department, we are hearing that we need to see all of the county’s nine criteria in yellow before considering a transition to an in-person option, and even then, it will be for only some students, not everyone.  In their opinion, any face-to-face instruction may not be possible for several weeks.

Another limitation is the availability of timely COVID case investigation.  As Pima County Health Department Director Dr. Theresa Cullen said, it is a foundation that must be available when children go back to school.  Right now, it doesn’t exist.

Another point is that in-person learning requires a public health infrastructure to keep the virus in check.  Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima County’s Chief Medical Officer, indicated that is currently not the case.  For that reason, even if all metrics were in yellow, it would be premature to proceed.

The bottom line is that we need to settle into 100% remote learning for several weeks until we receive those definitive recommendations from Pima County Health that I mentioned earlier.  If we start back too early, we are likely to see COVID cases causing the intermittent closing and opening of our schools, creating very challenging conditions for you and for us.

When the time comes to start moving back to in-person classroom instruction, there will be some disruption for families and for staff. It is likely that some students will not have the same teachers in-person that they had in remote.  Depending on enrollment in each option, we will need to reassign staffing. 

That brings up another factor.  To offer both in-person and remote learning, we must be confident that we have the necessary staff for a full complement of instruction so that all classes and courses are offered to our students.

As we move forward, we will keep you informed, the best that we can. We will also solicit your feedback about any options under consideration for transitioning back to in-person classroom instruction.

Thanks for listening…and stay safe.



Mary Kamerzell, Superintendent




July 28, 2020

Dear CFSD Families,

Today, all Pima County school district superintendents received a letter from the Pima County Administrator, Chuck Huckleberry, on behalf of the Pima County Health Department. They advise that we should not open our schools in-person on August 17. As a result, we will not wait for a health metric from the Arizona Department of Health Services and we will now plan to start the school year 100% remotely for all of our students.

Here is the excerpt from Mr. Huckleberry's letter that is definitive on the decision whether to reopen schools.


Where We Stand Today Regarding Infection, Hospitalization and Death Statistics for Resumptions, Including Opening Schools
Could local public health data support the reopening of schools on August 17, 2020 for in-person learning? The short answer is, no. The explanation in the facts. They are:

  • We are now near the end of July and local County COVID-19 infections are at the highest daily amounts since the pandemic began.

  • Pima County's total monthly infections in March were 153, in April 1,024, in May 1,101, in June 5,622 and so far for July through the 27th, they are 6,772.

  • Masks were only recently mandated at the County level on June 19, 2020 and it will take weeks to see if this mitigation strategy is working.

  • Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at record levels and it was only last week the ICU bed capacity was nearly exceeded and critical patients were transferred to other hospitals in the State.

  • Widespread testing is only now becoming available throughout the community.

  • Despite the availability of widespread testing, obtaining test results in a timely manner to allow effective contact tracing does not exist at this time.

For all of the above reasons, schools should not open on August 17, 2020 for in-person learning.

The present data certainly does not create a positive, sustainable trend. Hence, it is the professional opinion of Dr. Garcia and Dr. Cullen that the earliest in-school learning would be resumed after Labor Day or beyond September 7, 2020 and perhaps not until October 5, 2020.

As I communicated previously, if schools cannot resume in-person instruction safely by the first day of school, CFSD's reopening plan includes a contingency model that will move all teachers and students to Remote Learning. That is what will happen.

We will begin the school year teaching all scheduled classes 100% remotely using CFSDOnline with Google Classroom as the online learning platform. Students will participate in Remote Learning with their assigned teacher(s) at their enrolled school with an established schedule in order to provide instruction in all areas of the curriculum. This will allow for a smooth transition to In-Person Learning with as few changes as possible to staff or student schedules when it has been determined that schools will be able to open.

This is such a challenging time for all of us. We will do our best to be flexible, listen to your feedback, and communicate in the future about an in-person option.


Mary Kamerzell


July 26, 2020

Dear CFSD Families,

We hear you. Due to the concerns that many parents have raised, we will extend the deadline to opt into Remote Learning until Monday, July 27 at 8:00pm. Attached are the instructions for accessing the survey to opt into Remote Learning.

We hope that this will allow parents extra time to reserve remote learning while still giving our administrators the time they need to make staffing decisions for the upcoming school year. We hope this allows you additional flexibility, even if it is only for one day.

If the ADHS metric, which will be released on August 7, indicates that we need to move to 100% Remote Learning, all students will begin learning from home on August 17th.  

When the metric indicates that it is safe to reopen our schools for in-person instruction, we will provide parents with further information at that time, and your July 27 decision to opt into Remote Learning will be non-binding.

Thank you for sharing your questions and concerns with us. We appreciate your understanding as we plan to provide our students with a high quality educational experience.





July 25, 2020

Dear CFSD Community,

It has come to my attention that families may believe that we will ignore an Arizona Department of Health Services' (ADHS) anticipated August 7 metric that may indicate that it is not safe to reopen our schools in-person on August 17. That is not true. It is unimaginable that Governor Ducey will not heed the ADHS metric if it indicates that Arizona schools are not safe to reopen. Regardless, we will take the ADHS metric seriously and follow its advice.



Mary Kamerzell


July 21, 2020

Dear CFSD Community:

On July 16, the CFSD Governing Board approved a letter to the Governor and to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction contrasting the Governor’s directive to reopen schools against the conditions on the ground required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to safely resume public activity.  In addition, the Governor announced that the Arizona Department of Education will soon be releasing a new flexible plan for education.  As a result, our families have questions about whether our reopening plans have changed.

CFSD is still offering two options for families to choose their path back to school. The details of our two options, In-Person Learning and Remote Learning, are on our website.

If the Governor makes the decision to delay in-person learning beyond August 17, CFSD's reopening plan includes a contingency model that will move all teachers and students to Remote Learning. In that case, we will begin the school year teaching all scheduled classes 100% remotely using Google Classroom as the online learning platform. Students will participate in Remote Learning with their assigned teacher(s) at their enrolled school with an established schedule in order to provide instruction in all areas of the curriculum. This will allow for a smooth transition to In-Person Learning with minimal changes to staff or student schedules when schools are allowed to open.

Our hearts go out to our families and staff during this time.  While much is in flux, we are certain of this: we are stronger together.  Thank you for your commitment to CFSD and for your patience during these complex and challenging conditions. 


Mary Kamerzell

P.S. If you wish to reserve Remote Learning, please do so by midnight on July 26.


July 13, 2020

Dear CFSD Community,

We know that you have been eagerly awaiting news of Catalina Foothills School District’s return to school for the 2020-2021 school year. Thank you for your patience. Using the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA), we believe that ours is a thorough, high-quality plan that provides choices for families, rigorous learning for students, and addresses the health/safety concerns for students and staff.

Guidance related to Covid-19 may continue to evolve throughout the coming school year, and we are confident that our plans are flexible enough to respond to those possible changes.  If in-person school is delayed again, we will be ready to begin the year with remote learning for all students starting on August 17.

Welcome back!


Mary Kamerzell


Choose Your Path Back to School 

Catalina Foothills School District is offering two options when it comes to planning a safe return to school. Our website contains extensive information on the available pathways:

Families are asked to carefully read about each option, then select the choice that will best serve your individual student(s).

Families interested in the Remote Learning option will need to confirm a selection by choosing the Reserve Remote Learning Here button on our website and then filling out the online form by July 26. 


No action is required by families who are currently registered for school and are choosing the In-Person option.



July 2, 2020
Dear CFSD Community,
As a follow-up to my June 16 communication, I wanted to let you know that we are working 24/7 to create the two reopening plans that I mentioned previously, full-time in-person learning (brick and mortar school) and full-time remote learning. 

While we adapt to new guidance from the State of Arizona, our priority is to design plans for school re-entry that continue our tradition of academic excellence and create a safe environment for students and staff. Our primary sources for guidance are the CDC's Considerations for Schools and the American Academy of Pediatrics' COVID-19 Planning Considerations.

As you may be aware, this week Governor Ducey issued an executive order delaying the start of in-person school until Monday, August 17. The Governor has referred to August 17 as an aspirational date. He may decide to push back the date for in-person learning again. We continue to hope that conditions improve, allowing us to start school in-person this August. But if necessary, we will be ready to begin school as 100% remote learning on August 17.  

We plan to launch a website on July 13 with details about our learning plans. You will receive an email link to that information. Families who want the remote learning plan for the 2020-21 school year will be asked to register for it. No action will be required from families who are planning to attend school in-person.

We recognize that you are anxious to learn more about our reopening plans and that calendar adjustments create challenges for families. We are grateful for the patience and understanding that you have shown us during these unprecedented and unpredictable times.

We hope that you are enjoying these warm summer days with your family. We look forward to starting the new school year on August 17.

Mary Kamerzell





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