COVID-19 Information

Check for updated information about COVID 19. Read emails from Vail School District Superintendent, John Carruth and Old Vail Middle School Principal, Michael Fester.

Click here to learn about OVMS School Day

Letter from Principal Fester July 24, 2020

Dear OVMS Parents and Guardians:


Although things are constantly changing and evolving as we move towards the start of another school year here at Old Vail Middle School… one thing is not changing… I am super excited about another school year as the Principal at OVMS.  I love our school and I love our community… and most importantly… I look forward to getting our staff and students back to school… remotely or in-person.  I want to get back to the “business” of educating your kids and providing a safe and nurturing environment for them to learn and grow.  This year is going to be different… no doubt about it… but we pride ourselves at OVMS for making “different”… great!


This week, we have had lots of families sign the Responsible Use Policy and Chromebook Insurance documents for OVMS 1:1 6-8 grade! There are still slots available if you would like to pay over the phone! We have had great feedback from families who love how quick, safe, and easy this process is working! Click here to sign up to pay over the phone! 


Also, if you still need to fill out the Responsible Use Policy and OVMS Self Insurance Policy, click on the links and get that done as soon as possible. All families must fill out these forms for their students to receive their chromebooks! 


As a reminder, ALL OVMS STUDENTS will be provided a chromebook for this school year.  This will help provide consistency throughout the school year as we move from remote learning to in-person learning and will allow for students to remain connected if they are out of school for an extended period of time throughout the school year.


There will be more information sent out from me next week about the specific look of your child’s school day during remote learning. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me.



Michael C. Fester


Letter from Superintendent John Carruth  July 24, 2020

July 24, 2020

Dear Vail Families and Staff,

We have wrapped up our virtual town halls this week. It was wonderful to connect with so many families. We miss you and your children and look forward to the time when we can be together again. I was again reminded just how strong our community is. Vail is most certainly a place where education is a community effort. I know that we will get through every challenge we face in the coming months together.

So, what’s the update for this week?

Yesterday, Governor Ducey held a press conference and issued a new executive order regarding the opening of schools. We are working to unwrap what the order means for the Vail School District and will inform you once we have a clear understanding. This morning a small group of superintendents met with Pima County and Pima County Health Department leaders to determine what metrics should be used to determine when schools can safely re-open, as referenced in the Governor’s order and press conference.

As we anticipated the executive order would make changes to reopening schools, we have delayed sending out the survey for parents to choose an educational option for their child(ren). Our intent is to open up the survey for parents in the next week after ensuring that our plans are in compliance with the new instruction from the State.

In the meantime, please review the graphic below to see what our options currently look like, and get more details around each educational option on the district website at

Thank you again for your continued patience and support as we work to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information. Please let us know if you have any further questions at

John Carruth
Vail Unified School District
(520) 879-2004


Letter from Superintendent John Carruth  July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020
Dear Vail Parents,
Our virtual town halls with parents this week have been going very well. They have given us an opportunity to answer questions, listen to feedback, and connect with Vail families. Because of the high level of interest in attending the virtual town halls, I have added three additional town halls to accommodate the requests we received.
A common question we have been hearing surrounds the difference between Remote Learning, Brick to Click Learning, and full time virtual learning through the Vail Innovation Center (VIC).
We have created the following videos to help clarify the differences. The first video shows what Remote Learning and Brick to Click in K-8 will look like and explains the difference between them. A written description for 9-12 is also attached. The second video explains what full time virtual learning through the VIC will look like. (See Attachments)
Click HERE to watch video on Remote Learning and Brick to Click in K-8.
Click HERE to watch video on what virtual learning through the VIC.
Many of the other questions we have been hearing are specific to individual schools. In order to help parents find important information we have added site specific information to the Vail School District website.
To find it please go to Click on the purple “School Opening and COVID-19 Information” box. Then click on the “School Day” tab and the “Communications from Schools” tabs.
We know this is not anyone’s ideal start to school. It isn’t ours either. However, as the Vail community continues along the path of reopening schools in these uncertain times, we are committed to continuing to serve parents.
Again, we appreciate your patience and support as we work to re-open schools. Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns at
John Carruth

Letter from Principal Michael Fester July 13, 2020

July 13, 2020

OVMS Parents and Guardians:

Almost six months ago, I said goodbye to our OVMS students prior to Spring Break. Plenty of hugs, high-fives, and “see you in a couple weeks” were shared. 

Little did I know way back then that nearly six months later, we have yet to have students back on our big middle school campus. If you know me, you know that this is driving me crazy.  If you don’t know me yet and this is the first correspondence that you are receiving from me, you will soon know how much I appreciate our students and love being the Principal at Old Vail Middle School. In spite of all that is going on in our world and whether or not there are kids physically on campus or learning from home… We believe that our OVMS Family is strong and we will do more than simply “get through” this year. We will thrive. Students will learn. All of those that come on to our campus will be safe and cared for. And we will find ways throughout the year to laugh, have fun, and celebrate our successes.

I have had this email started for weeks… but with constant changes and shifts in plans… it has been written and re-written dozens of times at this point. And although there may be more changes forthcoming, I am (finally) able to share with you some details and welcome you to the 2020-2021 school year. The theme for my staff and our students (and our community) will be… GRIT. GRACE. GRATITUDE.  This year will take a lot of perseverance, patience, compassion, and empathy.

A couple updates…

Construction Update:

The new library and front office is nearly complete.  A couple technology issues must be addressed but we have already started moving in!  The “old library” (the new 700 building) had walls constructed and new flooring installed and, as a result, two new classrooms have been added to our campus.  A beautiful, new sun shade was installed in the bus bay thanks to the OVMS PTSA and Student Council!



Student Schedule:

Schedules will be made available to view in Powerschool soon.  When the district makes Powerschool available to the public, you will receive an email from the school.

School Start Date:

School officially begins on Monday, August 10 with remote learning. We will begin with remote instruction until Governor Ducey says students can return to school. Tentatively, the date given to return is Monday, August 17.

Meet the Teacher/Open House:

Arrangements are being made for a virtual “Meet the Teacher” Event during the week of August 3.  More information will be forthcoming.

Remote Learning:

Students are expected to attend class remotely for each of their four content areas (Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies) following their in-person schedule. A  copy of the daily schedule for each grade will be sent home prior to the start of school.  For the week of August 10, we will expect students to attend core content classes only. If remote learning continues past the week of August 10, we will phase in specialist classes.

Elements of Remote Learning:

  • Direct instruction is archived for viewing (and reviewing) on Schoology, our instructional delivery platform.
  • Student feedback is given regularly throughout the week.
  • The structure of instruction parallels typical in-person instruction with direct instruction, guided practice, independent practice, checks for understanding, and student feedback as the framework components.
  • Formative assessments are administered.
  • Grades based on mastery of the standards are assigned beginning with the first week.

Direct Instruction:

Using Schoology, teachers will provide direct instruction every day. 

  • Students will be expected to join their class for instruction; for students unable to do so, the day’s direct instruction will be recorded and uploaded to Schoology.
  • Students will be able to engage with the teacher during their scheduled class period, and throughout the instructional day.


Due to remote learning expectations for our students, we will be issuing Chromebooks to all of our OVMS students (grades 6-8).  Chromebook distribution will occur during the week of August 3.  Details on the distribution of chromebooks will be sent out later this week.

Thank you for partnering with us this year. I look forward to working with you and your student in what will surely be a remarkable school year.


Michael C. Fester


Letter from Superintendent John Carruth July 10th, 2020

July 10, 2020
Dear Parents and Staff,
I’d like to provide you a quick update regarding our plans for the upcoming school year.
School Start Date: Vail schools will open remotely on August 10th. 
Governor Ducey has delayed the start of in-person school until August 17th. However, schools are able to open remotely prior to that date. The Governor also stated they would, “continuously re-evaluate that date.” If a decrease in COVID-19 rates are not seen, it is possible that the Governor may delay in-person classes beyond August 17th. VUSD will open in-person as soon as the State allows.
School Choices:
Once our campuses are able to open for in-person classes, there will be three options from which parents must choose:
  • On Campus Learning (begins when campuses re-open)
  • Brick to Click Learning (begins when campuses re-open)
  • Full Time Digital Learning through the Vail Innovation Center (begins August 10th)
Because in-person classes are delayed, the On Campus and Brick to Click options will not begin until campuses are allowed to open. It is important to note that remote learning before our campuses open may look different from the Brick to Click option.
For more information regarding these three distinct options and other school opening information, please visit
When school begins on August 10th, all Vail students will be taught remotely by their classroom teacher(s). Elementary school students will be provided with instruction and lessons to be completed daily. Middle and high school students will follow their course schedules.
We know parents have many questions regarding the three educational options and the remote start. We will be hosting a series of Virtual Town Halls over the next two weeks to answer questions that parents have. Please see the dates and times below.
Parents will receive a link the week of July 20th to an online portal where they will be asked to select the option that works best for their child(ren) and family.
School Calendar:
Starting school on August 10th requires that a few adjustments be made to the school calendar for next year. This issue is currently being studied by the Governing Board, but the current plan is to have a two-week fall break for all students from October 12th – 23rd and a one week spring break from March 15th – 19th. A draft of the school calendar is attached to this email.
I intend to continue sending a weekly email until school begins on August 10th. We are working out the details on issues like Senior Exit Projects and student travel. I hope to have updates on these issues as well as any new developments that may occur over the course of the week.
Thank you for your continued support.
John Carruth
Virtual Town Hall Schedule
Wednesday, 7/15 – 12:00pm
Thursday, 7/16 – 6:00pm
Friday, 7/17 – 11:30am
Monday, 7/20 – 6:00pm

Please RSVP to Cindy Petersen at if you would like to attend. You will be sent log-in information at that time. Spots are limited to ensure quality discussions via zoom. Additional sessions will be added if needed.

Letter from Superintendent John Carruth July 3rd, 2020

July 3, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

Earlier this week I sent an email explaining what Governor Ducey’s June 29th Executive Order means for the Vail School District.

During the press conference Governor Ducey reviewed the upward trajectory of COVID-19 in Arizona. “Our numbers continue to increase. They are going in the wrong direction. We are going to take additional actions to contain this virus and get back on track.”- Governor Doug Ducey.

For this reason the Governor ordered that in- person learning cannot begin until August 17, 2020. The Governor also said that Arizona will, “continuously re-evaluate this target date. So, we want to acknowledge the possibility that the order to delay could be extended.

The executive order allows schools to open remotely prior to August 17th. Last week the Vail Governing Board voted to delay the start of school until August 10th.  In light of the executive order, we are planning for schools to open remotely on August 10th and starting in-person learning on August 17th, or when the order is lifted. Information on what a remote start will look like is currently being developed and will be shared with you as soon as it is available.

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), which governs all high school athletics, has also made a decision to delay the start of fall sports. The fall sports season, which was scheduled to begin on August 21st, has been postponed. The AIA Board will be meeting to determine the start date for the fall season. More information about AIA can be found here.

In the meantime please take some time to familiarize yourself with the information in the School Opening section of the VUSD website. School Opening and COVID-19 Information

New information is being added daily. As we receive questions from parents, staff, and students, we are adding the answers to the FAQ section of the website. You can also expect regular email updates from me as the situation evolves between now and the start of the school year.

Please be safe and enjoy the holiday weekend!

John Carruth

Letter from Superintendent John Carruth July 29th, 2020

June 29, 2020


Dear Parents and Staff,


Friday evening the Vail School District Governing Board voted unanimously to postpone the start of the 2020/2021 school year to August 10th for the following reasons:


• Additional time is needed to plan and execute the work necessary to address three distinct instructional models as well as develop and execute specific plans for health and safety needs at each school site.

• Arizona and Pima County are currently experiencing record rates of spread of the COVID-19 virus. Additional time will allow for statewide measures, including the Pima County Resolution requiring the use of face coverings, to take effect to help slow the spread.

Today, Monday June 29th, Governor Ducey announced at a press conference that schools will be required to delay the start of in-person classes until August 17th. However, the order allows schools to open remotely through distance learning prior to August 17th.


Over the next few days we will be unwrapping the details in today’s executive order and what they mean for opening schools in Vail. We anticipate being able to communicate our next steps with you by early next week.


In the meantime, please take a moment to review the new section of VUSD’s website. Information regarding educational options, health and safety, and much more can be found at


John Carruth



John Carruth,
Vail Unified School District

Letter from Superintendent John Carruth June 25, 2020

June 25, 2020

Dear Parents,

It has been a little less than two weeks since I last wrote to you. At that time, I indicated that we were working hard on plans to open school on time in July. In the same email, I also noted that the conditions around COVID-19 remain very fluid.

As of this writing it has become apparent that additional time before the start of the new school year would be very helpful to address the following issues:

1) Arizona and Pima County are currently experiencing a record spike of COVID-19 cases. According to Governor Ducey’s news conference today, this spike is expected to last into July.

2) Additional planning time is needed to ensure that details around the three instructional choices and safety precautions for schools are fully developed and in place before the start of the school year.

As such, our Governing Board is meeting tomorrow evening at 6:00PM to discuss the possibility of moving the start of the school year to August 10 for all K-8 schools and high schools.

The Governing Board will also review three instructional choices for your family that will be made available next year along with health and safety plans for school sites. The instructional choices include:

  1. On Campus Learning where school will be as close to normal as possible with enhanced health and safety precautions in place.
  2. “Brick to Click” Learning that allows students to learn remotely for short intervals of time while remaining connected to their regular schools.
  3. Full-Time Digital Learning with the Vail Innovation Center (VIC) delivered by Vail teachers to provide virtual learning in your home for a full semester or school year.

The board meeting will be streamed live for those who would like to view it. A link to the livestream video will be made available on our website at

If you have questions or comments regarding the new school year, please feel free to reach out to us at

Thank you for your support and understanding.

John Carruth

Letter from Superintendent John Carruth June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Dear Parents,

I hope that you and your family are healthy and are enjoying your summer. I’d like to provide you with an update on plans for next school year.

Our primary focus since the end of the school year has been planning for our return to school. Thank you for your feedback through the parent survey and other correspondence. It has helped shape the decision making.

We are planning to open schools on-time in July.

We are working closely with Governor Ducey’s office, the Arizona Department of Education, and state and county health officials. As of this writing, Governor Ducey has stated that schools will be allowed to open on time.

The reality is that conditions around COVID-19 are fluid and will likely remain so through much of this next school year. As such we are planning for flexibility and parent choice.

We are developing three primary choices for you and your family.

1. School as close to normal as possible with reasonable health and safety precautions in place. 

A list of logistics and safety precautions being considered is attached to this letter.

2. A “Brick to Click” option that allows students to learn remotely for short intervals of time while remaining connected to their regular schools.

A student or group of students may want to remain connected to their regular school but may need to learn remotely due to health concerns, illness, or personal reasons.

3. On-line school with the Vail Innovation Center delivered by Vail teachers to provide virtual learning in your home for a full semester or school year.

For over 15 years, Vail has offered on-line learning to support parents who choose to home school their children or need them to learn remotely. This program is offered through our Vail Innovation Center. Information about this program can be found here.

Our desire is to provide you with information about your family’s options for the start of the new school year. We are not asking you to choose right now. As more details develop around each plan, we will share them with you and let you know how to indicate your choice. If you have any questions, please contact or me directly.

Vail’s Mission Statement reads: We seek to provide parents with safe and nurturing school communities, where their children can obtain a quality education. As we plan for next school year, it is our deep desire to execute all three of these core values.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate this uncharted territory together.

John Carruth




Grab and Go Meals Information

Middle School FAQ’s Updated April 8,2020


Video Message from Principal Fester March 25th