• Disclaimer Statement:

    All FAQ’s posted here are for the convenience of Sanders Unified School District #18 families, staff, and community. Please be aware that the responses are based on the information we have available as of today (April 1, 2020) and are subject to change as conditions in Arizona and our local community change.

    Please check back regularly for such changes.

     All of this information will be updated on our web page at https://www.sandersusd.net/

    Family & Student FAQs

    Important Note: This is a fluid situation and the decisions we are making today are based on the latest information available. 

    Q: Why are SUSD schools closed from March 16-through the end of the school year? 

    A: School closures have been announced three times since Sunday, March 15, 2020.

    On March 15, 2020, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman jointly announced the closure of all public schools in Arizona for the time period of March 16-March 27, 2020.

    On Friday, March 20, 2020, an additional announcement was made that the closure would continue through Friday, April 10, 2020. We were also informed that the state was monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Arizona with support from public health officials in order to make decisions about the closure of Arizona Public Schools.

    On Monday, March 30, 2020, Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman extended the school closure through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. 

    Q: Who can I call if I have questions about the closure?

    A: Please call your school for questions about the extended break. Principals have been briefed and will be prepared to field questions. Questions can be answered 8:00 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

    Valley High School                928-688-4200 or 928-688-4206
    Sanders Middle School          928-688-4770 or 928-688-4774
    Sanders Elementary School   928-688-3850 or 928-688-3852

    Q: How will Sanders Unified School District share updates and communications over this closure?

    A: We will continue to stay in close communication with the SUSD families, community, and staff members during this closure. We will continue to share messages through our digital marque, school district web page, emails, text messages, and our family messaging phone service system.

    Q: What does Arizona HB 2910 “public school closures; coronavirus disease” require of public schools in Arizona during the school closures due to COVID-19 concerns?

    A: There are several key pieces of information in HB2910 that employees need to be aware of. A few of those are listed below. 

    ·         If the statewide closure of Arizona public schools is not lifted by March 29, 2020, the bill states that public schools are not required to extend the number of school days or add additional instructional hours after the statewide closure ends.

    ·         Requires, beginning March 30, 2020, each public school to offer students general education opportunities, as determined by the public school, for the duration of the statewide closure. (Sec 1). a) stipulates that this requirement is a condition for the public school to receive continued formula funding. 

    ·         Directs public schools to continue offering general educational opportunities until the scheduled end of its posted 2019-2020 school year if the statewide closure is not lifted.

    ·         Specifies that if the statewide closure is lifted before the scheduled end of the public school’s 2019-2020 posted school year calendar, the public school must either:

    o    Resume physical operations as usual; or

    o    Continue offering general education opportunities


    ·         Allows the public school to use its transportation fleet to perform school operations that are deemed to support students and their families during the statewide closure, as determined by the public school.

    Q: What are the implications of the Navajo Nation Public Health Emergency Order NO. 2020-003 Public Health Emergency Stay at Home (Shelter in Place) Order?

    A: There are several key provisions in Order No. 2020-003 that are specific to public education:

    ·         “To mitigate the risk and to preserve the public health and safety, all individuals living on the Navajo Nation must stay home or at their place of residence, except essential workers needed to maintain continuity of operations of the critical infrastructure sectors. (See https://cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors). If you visit this link and go to the “Government Facilities Sector,” you will find preK-12th grade schools listed under the Sector Overview.

    ·         (Page 2-3, Item C, viii) “…Essential Businesses include: Healthcare Operations, Essential Government Functions and Essential Infrastructure (e.g. courts of law, medical providers for urgent care, public utilities, and critical school operations such as nutrition programs): 

    o    viii: Educational institutions – for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that Social Distancing is maintained to the greatest extent possible.

    ·         Page 3, Item C, x) “…Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and takeaway basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided or at any other gathering site.

    NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN that this Order declaring restrictions based upon the existence of a condition of public health importance shall not abrogate any disease-reporting requirements.

    Q: What meal supports will be available to students during the closure?

    A: Sanders Unified School District will offer free breakfast and lunch meals to students and their families at the 5 locations throughout the district. This will occur on weekdays from Monday through Friday for the duration of the state-wide school closure. Food will only be available in grab-and-go packaging to avoid congregating. To prioritize social distancing, families are not allowed to eat on site. SUSD is not able to provide transportation for people to obtain these meals

    Breakfast and lunch will be available to pick up at the same time from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm on Monday through Friday.

    In order to maximize our federal funding for student meal services, we ask that children be present to receive their meals.

    Any child 18 years old and under eligible to eat under this program even if he/she is not an SUSD student.


    Families can pick up student meal from any locations listed below, regardless of the school that a child attends or even if the child does not attend an SUSD school. (For Chapter House Locations – Look for the SUSD School Bus)

    ·         Sanders Elementary School-Bus Loading Area (North Side)

    ·         Lupton Chapter House-Across the Chapter House

    ·         Houck Chapter House-East of the Chapter

    ·         Wide Ruins Chapter House-Tanner Springs Turn Around

    ·         Navajo Travel Center– Area south of the store


    Food Pantry at Sanders Elementary School

    We will continue to distribute grocery bags with food through the Sanders Unified School District partnership with United Food Bank. These grocery bags will be available for pickup at the same locations and times as the school breakfast and lunches. The grocery bags are only available for SUSD students who have been receiving these bags; one bag per student per month. For example: If you have 4 children in SUSD schools you can pick up 4 grocery bags full of food.

    Q: What are the learning options moving forward?

    A: Each school site will be contacting students and families to explain their educational plan. We will be using student packets, google classroom, APEX-computerized learning, video conferencing, and telephonic communications.

    Q: What are the implications for state testing?

    A: We do not yet have an answer to testing implications. We are working with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to determine state-level standardized assessment implications.

    Q: What emotional supports are available to students and families during the closure?

    A: We know this can be an anxious and uncertain time for kids and adults alike, and students, family, and staff can benefit from information regarding emotional support. Here are some resources that could be helpful:

    • Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with the Coronavirus Disease 2019


    • WHO Infographic Helping Children Cope


    • National Association of School Psychologists Helping Kids Cope


    • Multiple Crisis Hotlines available to any Arizona Citizen


    • If a guardian or school leader has a staff or student in imminent danger, please call 911  

    Q: Who can I call if I have a concern that I or someone I know has been exposed?

    A: Contact your physician’s office or Consult A Doctor at 1-800-362-2667. You can also contact the TMC Health Care Facility at 928-729-3435, Nahata’Dzil Health Care Facility at 928-688-5600 and Navajo Nation Hotline at 928-871-7014.

    Q: Will playgrounds/school athletic fields be accessible or open during the closure?

    A: No. The whole point of the school closures is to reduce the spread of the virus. Shared playground equipment represents another opportunity for the virus to be transmitted. We encourage families to follow the recommendations of medical and public health experts for social distancing and hygiene practices.

    Q: What events will be approved for community use during the closure?

    A: All events are canceled during the closure. This is subject to change as conditions in Arizona and/or the community change.

    Q: How will SUSD decide when to resume regular school schedules? How far in advance will this be communicated?

    A: This is an evolving situation, and SUSD will continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), AZ Department of Health Services (AZDHS), Arizona Department of Education (ADE), AZ Governor’s Office, and the Navajo Nation Office of the President. We will share updates when they are available.