Safe Return to School - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Safe Return to School | COVID-19 Updates | COVID-19 Resources

When is the first day of school for the Pendergast Elementary School District?

Governor Doug Ducey has indicated that schools will not reopen in person until August 17, 2020 at the earliest, due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Arizona. However, PESD will open on Wednesday, August 5th for Distance Learning for all students.


What is the reason for not opening schools in person?

Gov. Ducey, through Executive Order proclaimed that schools would not open for in person learning until August 17th. COVID-19 cases have significantly increased over the past month in Maricopa County and all of Arizona and it is not safe to put students, staff, families or the communities at possible risk to contract the virus.

During the summer, the PESD staff has engaged stakeholders and experts representing parents, teachers, administrators, support staff and community partners in task forces focused on a Safe Return to Pendergast for the 2020-21 school year. The task forces covered important areas for reopening options in depth and used information and models from the Centers for Disease Control, the district’s insurance Trust, Arizona Department of Education and others to bring forth research-based information to incorporate into the plan. Surveys were created and sent to staff and families seeking their input. Results were carefully reviewed and taken into consideration as part of the planning process.


Where can I find the most up to date information of the status of COVID-19 in Arizona?

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Resource Center, The Centers for Disease Control and the Arizona Department of Health Services.


Can I enroll my child in Pendergast Schools?

Absolutely. PESD welcomes new students into the twelve Pendergast Schools. Call 623-772-2302 and Central Registration will be ready to help you. You can access the necessary forms and further information at


How will I find out information about the start of school?

Every family in Pendergast District will be personally contacted to ensure they have the necessary information and materials needed to be prepared for the start of school. Continue to check the PESD website and social media for further information.


What is Online Distance Learning and how will my child/ren be taught?

Distance Learning is online instruction that will have structured teaching and learning content and activities. Attendance will be taken and each child is expected to be fully engaged and accountable for their work. Distance Learning will be five full days per week and available for students enrolled in current PESD schools.

When schools reopen, parents will have the opportunity to select in person or online learning for their child/ren. Online instructors will collaborate with classroom teachers and PESD staff and curriculum will include blended learning resources. Online & printed instruction will be provided in core content, special areas, and social-emotional learning. There will be a daily schedule that students follow with live and taped learning lessons. Student work will be graded and students are required to be active learners.


What about Extracurricular Activities?

Extracurricular activities are an important part of school life. In accordance with this, and for the safety of students and staff, PESD will adjust the physical sports calendar to align to a time when students can more safely participate in physical sports. Adjustments will also be made to the music activity calendar to align to a time when students can more safely participate in choir and band instruments and the district and schools will create clubs/activities that students can safely participate in that allow for physical distancing and/or online participation.


My child is a Special Education student, what accommodations will be made?

Accommodations & support services will be provided for students with disabilities, 504 support, English Language Learners, and students identified as gifted with Individual Education Plans with teams collaborating with families to determine how to best provide a Free Appropriate Public Education.


What if I do not have technology for my student to use for Distance Learning?

District devices will be available through a special arrangement. PESD staff will contact each family to discuss their particular technology learning needs and support.


How will support be provided for families?

Support during these challenging times is critical for the health and safety of all. PESD is creating technology guides for families, and parents/students will ask their online teacher for additional support, then they can also refer to Library Media Technicians, or to the PESD IT Department.

Additionally, the Educational Services Department is creating learning from home support for parents and teachers and they will consistently implement School Status with all families to ensure regular communication. The 2020-2021 Student Handbook will be shared that includes online learning expectations. All PESD counselors and social workers will be available to offer additional support and assistance to families.


Will meals be provided for students while the district is closed?

The Pendergast Elementary School District has a Food Service plan in place that will provide meals to students (through the age of 18 years).  All twelve school sites within the district will provide a grab and go breakfast and lunch meal.  The hours of operation will be 7:30am – 11am, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week. The meal distribution will continue in the “Grab and Go” format, with (2) breakfast and (2) lunch meals being provided. The school sites will be open from 7:30 am to 8:30 am and 10 am to 12 pm for the grab and go meals at the entrances of each of the cafeterias.  Breakfast and lunch will be handed out during these hours.


What is the timeline on when we can physically return to school?

Pendergast District will continue with Distance Learning instruction until it is deemed safe to physically return to school. The district will continue to work with state and local health officials to determine when that will be and as soon as that information becomes available, it will be shared with families, and all schools will move forward with the Safe Return to School Plan.