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Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

January 21, 2022

Return to In Person Learning!

Good Afternoon Desert Heights Family!

Desert Heights campuses will be back open on Monday, January 24th for on campus learning. In support of our continued mitigation efforts, we strongly suggest wearing a mask while on campus as we all work collectively to minimize a possible return to virtual.

We look forward to seeing everyone Monday morning!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your students grade level administrator!

January 11, 2022

Academic Plan for Asynchronous Learning

Dear Parents/Guardians of Desert Heights’ Scholars,

The intention of this communication is to provide you with details for what asynchronous learning will look like for January 13th-21st. To make it as clear as possible, it is formatted to support your ability to quickly find the information you need for your child’s grade level. This mode of instruction is intended to support students and parents in having the flexibility of when to complete the content, rather than having specific times scheduled throughout the day given the challenges of not being able to offer in person instruction temporarily.

All grade levels will be asynchronous which means that students will work independently and will not be signing in for live instruction. The focus will be on core classes and solidifying concepts students have already learned and any new concepts introduced in higher grades will be material students can accomplish independently with teacher support. Teachers will be available to students via email during school hours. Friday January 14th is a half day, and no school Monday January 17th.

Kindergarten-4th Grade


Weekly agenda will be sent via email by the homeroom teacher. The focus will be on English Language Arts and Math only.

English Language Arts-

All students will be bringing home their English-Language Arts Core Knowledge workbooks with them tomorrow as well as any other materials they will need.


Kindergarten and 1st grade will be providing math packets tomorrow

2nd-4th will be completing daily Zearn lessons. If your child has had issues logging in to Zearn their teacher will be providing an alternative option. 

5th-8th Grade

Teachers will send a communication to students daily via email with the agenda for the day.

Unless otherwise instructed, they will access their assignments in Course Content, and there will be scheduled office hours on Zoom.

Office Hours are times when teachers are available to check in with students and answer questions.

Participation in office hours isn’t mandatory. Students can also email their teachers as needed.

This period of time will be used to reinforce concepts that have already been taught.

High School

Teachers will email students to communicate expectations. The focus will be on Core Content classes, AP classes and Dual Enrollment classes.

Students will access all assignments through Course Content

Teachers will be available to support students and can be contacted via email. They are able to schedule Zoom check ins if needed as well by request.

Advisors are available to support students during regular school hours

If students are ill, please let teachers and advisors know so that they are aware and can develop a plan of support if needed.

Please see your email for a more details per your students grade level. 

Advisors are available to support students during regular school hours

If students are ill, please let teachers and advisors know so that they are aware and can develop a plan of support if needed.

We are truly hoping this temporary move to asynchronous gives our schools the reset we need to keep in person instruction going the remainder of the year and to prevent further outbreak situations forcing us to change our plans unexpectedly. We thank you all so much for your support and understanding during this very frustrating situation for all of us.


Your Principal, 

Mrs. Miller 

January 11, 2022

Temporary Campus Closure (K-12)

Dear Desert Heights Family,

Since the return from Winter Break, we, along with most schools in the country, have had some COVID challenges. With staffing shortages, positive cases, and excessive close contact situations with the omicron variant, we have seen a higher than usual impact on our students and staff navigating the return to campus.


According to U.S. News, this is true of many schools in the country right now and some schools have reported closing for a period of time, while others are transitioning to online learning. We are not without impact, and as a result, have had to make the difficult decision to temporarily transition all K-12th grade student’s academic learning from in person to asynchronous learning, beginning Thursday, January 13th through Friday, January 21st. Our hope is to resume on campus learning on Monday, January 24th, 2022.


During this time, your student’s attendance will not be negatively impacted as this falls under the school’s COVID protocols. If your student is already under a stay-at-home order, the time will simply be extended.   


Please be on the lookout for more information from your student’s administrator. Additionally, if your student is receiving services from our special education department, an email communication outlining your student’s plan will follow. 


The following services will not be offered as a result of the temporary transition.

·       Before and aftercare for all grades K-12

·       Transportation services for all grades K-12 

·       All clubs and events for grades K-12

·       All athletic events (games and practices) will be cancelled and rescheduled after January 24, 2022.


I would personally like to thank you all in advance for your support. We know that this decision can create challenges for you and your household. However, we felt that this was the best, and safest, recourse for us as a community at this time. Our hope is that by implementing this district wide Covid mitigation plan, we will see a significant improvement in our community’s susceptibility to the Omicron variant and a return to a continuous instructional model that is both sustainable and more conducive to keeping our students and staff on campus. The charter and the prep offices will be closed for the duration of this asynchronous learning period, but staff will be working from home to address any questions, concerns or needs you might have. Again, thank you and be safe!

January 7, 2022

From the Desk of Mr. Jiles

October 6, 2021

COVID and Campus Updates

Last month, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health began providing COVID-19 self-test kits to districts, charter schools and private schools. Desert Heights submitted the necessary documentation to receive the new Over-the-Counter BinaxNOW Rapid COVID-19 Test with the goal of possibly minimizing COVID-19/close contact cases that result in unnecessary distance learning and time away from campus for our students (and staff). In support of this mitigation effort, our Governing Board unanimously approved this schoolwide initiative of offering tests to students on campus, provided that said student has a permission slip on file denoting that permission to administer the COVID -19 test on campus has been granted. Our Health Center Staff will administer the nasal swab test. For more information about our BinaxNOW Testing Plan, please visit our website!

September 8, 2021

September Community Correspondence

On September 1, 2021, Mrs. Miller sent out correspondence to our community regarding COVID-19 activity on our campuses. At that time, we had a total of 91 students impacted by a COVID case. I hope that all of you were able to take a moment to read her correspondence as we work to maintain a standard of transparency regarding COVID’s impact on our community. Unfortunately, schools across the country are shutting down as infection rates surge in classrooms and communities, predominantly in southern states. Given the uncertainty and proliferation of the delta variant, we simply do not know how long we will be able to sustain our present in person model of instruction. Our goal is to stay in person as long as possible without compromising the safety of our students, staff and families. Consequently, we will continue to review our mitigation efforts on all campuses and will continue to update our stakeholders on school mitigation measures, relevant school COVID data, and mitigation efforts you can take at home, and mask wearing. I would like to thank those of you who have supported our mask wearing request, as we are seeing a correlation between non- mask wearing students and COVID cases in our classrooms.

September 1, 2021

K-12 COVID Update

Dear Desert Heights Families,

We wanted to provide you with an update related to COVID cases on campus as well as protocols for mitigating the spread.

As of Monday August 30, 2021 we have had a total of 91 students impacted by a COVID case whether they were considered to be a close contact, or they were ill, or tested positive.

Breakdown of COVID data for Desert Heights

  • Total enrollment K-12-937
  • Total Positive Cases 8/2-8/31 (15 school days)-12
  • DHPA students-9
  • DHCS students-1
  • Staff-4
  • Students/Staff isolated due to close contact or symptoms-76

What Does this Data Mean?

A couple of things that are relevant to mention regarding the data is that the number of students in required isolation only counts each student once; however, some students have been isolated more than once due to different close contact situations, which means the instances of close contact is a higher number. This data for a 3-week time period is concerning given that these numbers are similar to what we were dealing with in November of last year when we had to return to virtual for the holiday season. At that time, we had not yet reached 12 cases total for the whole school year.

School Mitigation Measures

We have continued our mitigation measures of deep cleaning, creating conditions for frequent air circulation, sanitizing between student groups, allowing students to eat outside wherever possible, capping enrollment in certain grade levels for spacing in classrooms, and isolating those with COVID like symptoms from others visiting the nurse’s office.

At Home Mitigation Measures

As a condition of enrollment at Desert Heights, you as parents have agreed to support our mitigation strategies to keep our students safe, healthy and in-person for learning. Please do not send your child to school ill, please check their temperature at home and if it is above 99.9 degrees, please do not send them to school. A fever is a symptom of COVID and students who’ve developed fevers quickly have ended up testing positive for COVID. Inform the school immediately if your child has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID. Follow isolation and quarantine protocols. While those protocols are extremely frustrating and inconvenient, not following them could mean being in a situation where your family is impacted by having to isolate repeatedly, or even contracting COVID.

Mask Wearing

Mask wearing is optional on campus and in classrooms; however, Federal Law requires they be worn on all public transportation. Mask wearing is highly encouraged for 2 major reasons.

1.If someone tests positive but was wearing a mask and comes in to contact with your child who is also wearing a mask, the CDC does not require your child to isolate.

2.We have had a classroom where 4 students have tested positive for COVID. All close contacts that were consistently and correctly wearing their masks have all tested negative.

Instructional Methods

As of now all instruction for those in isolation or quarantine is asynchronous and is provided by their teachers through course content. There will be things your child is unable to do independently. In that case, the teacher will work with them to make those items up when they return. You are also welcome to reach out to the teacher if you are wanting to know more to help instruct your child at home.

We are launching Parent University this year. This will be a way in which you can watch videos created by our teachers and staff showing and explaining how to teach and practice very specific and important grade level concepts.

If we are forced to return to virtual learning due to an outbreak or a county requirement to do so, we will be providing iPads for every student enrolled. They will be equipped with the apps and materials needed for your child and are supported by our technology department. At this time, our 2nd-12th grade students are already in a 1-to-1 student to iPad scenario, but we are waiting for the K-1 iPads to arrive. In the event that we have to make a quick pivot to virtual learning, we will need to know a few things about your internet access at home. We would like every parent/guardian to complete this survey for each child, so we are best prepared to support your family.

Click the link to complete the quick survey for each child. (Please contact our front offices if you are needing to take this survey)

Clubs and Athletics

We recognize the weight of the last year and a half has been very heavy on our kids, so we are trying to balance offering the clubs and athletics we’ve been able to offer in the past with maintaining safety. We’ve decided that our students’ social and emotional well-being is extremely important and these outlets support our kids’ mental health and wellness. Therefore, we will be offering after school clubs with a limited number of students able to enroll in each. Cleaning measures, sanitization measures and distancing will be required, and again we encourage masks in order to allow students to continue in person without having to isolate or become ill. Information about sign ups will be going out today as well.

Thank you all so very much for your support, commitment and understanding as we navigate another tumultuous year. We are committed to ensuring we continue to offer quality education and family support. Proud to be part of this Coyote Village!

Your Principal,

Mrs. Miller

August 14, 2021

Community Correspondence for August

Dear Desert Heights Family,

As a community, we have experienced great challenges. As a family, we have persevered despite the challenges. Presently, our communities are facing an old nemesis that appears to be much stronger and aggressive and is targeting a much younger demographic. I want to thank all of our parents who have expressed concerns and offered ideas regarding what measures we can take to protect our communities from the spread of the COVID-19 Delta Virus. On a personal level, I have struggled mightily with this situation, as have our entire administrative team. Do we defy state leadership and executive orders as some districts are doing? Can we afford to risk punitive consequences like funding disruption if we do require mask wearing on campus? Do we stand idly by and hope that our students and staff are not the victims of close contact situations as many go without masks?

I am hopeful that by now, you, our stakeholders, trust that we do not wish to create division in our communities by appearing to be anything other than concerned for the health and well-being of our family. We do not wish to convince anyone that the virus is real or contrived. We do not wish to perpetuate any theories regarding the efficacy of the vaccinations or who might be getting rich as a result of the push to get vaccinated. We do not wish to devalue the horrific experiences that many families have faced losing loved ones. We just want to do whatever we can to keep our schools open. It is that simple. And we need your help to accomplish this.

On Friday, I met with our entire staff to ask that we all commit to wearing masks while on campus, even if vaccinated. I talked about a family’s accountability to one another even if there are fundamental differences in philosophy or belief. Presently, we are experiencing COVID exposure on both campuses despite our mitigation efforts. My ask of you is that you please consider sending your child(ren) to school wearing a mask even if they are vaccinated. Data suggests that even those who are vaccinated are contracting the Delta Virus at alarming rates. IF we stand idly by and do nothing, our campuses will be forced to close as a result of a shortage of staff, significant close contact situations and actual positive COVID cases, or eventually by state mandate. If our collective goal is to avoid a return to last year, we must take every measure to keep our schools open. I do not know if our students, staff, or parents are psychologically and emotionally prepared for a return to Virtual Learning.

Please…please consider supporting our efforts to stay on campus. Our students have been so happy to be in school. Their ability to do so is absolutely crucial to their overall development and mental stability. Please consider a return to wearing a mask on campus. If you have had a close contact situation or a positive test, please the appropriate staff member based on grade level, Ms. Bentley, and Ms. Viar for Preschool students or Mrs. Miller or any of our Health Center Support Staff for Kinder through 12th grade students. Any information disclosed will remain private. We are working to update our COVID information page on our website and anticipate that it will be up next week. Let’s come together as a family to keep those we love, the communities we love, as safe as possible under such challenging circumstances.

Optimistic and grateful,

Mr. Jiles

August 4, 2021


Masks will continue to be optional but are recommended for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals while indoors, during times of substantial or high transmission, per the CDC and Arizona Department of Health Services. Parents can view the transmission rates in our community on the Maricopa County Department of Public Health dashboard for schools. Despite these recommendations, under present Arizona State law (A.R.S. 15-342.05) Desert Heights Charter School District cannot require face coverings for students or staff inside our schools. Students who use our transportation systems (buses and vans) are subject to a federal law that requires staff and students to wear masks throughout the duration of their transport, as this is considered public transportation.

August 4, 2021

Campus Virus Mitigation Efforts

We know that our recent decision of asking parents not to be on campus was upsetting for many. Rest assured that upsetting you was not our intent when this decision was made. We do understand how difficult not being able to walk your children to their respective classrooms for the first week of school can be. We also realize that this can create anxiety for you and your child. Please communicate with our office staff or your child’s teacher if your child is experiencing any separation anxiety and we will do our absolute best to help them acclimate and work through whatever they are experiencing. Last year, we respectfully requested that parents not be on campus and our community responded with tremendous support. By returning to this mitigation strategy, we hope that we can minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 by reducing the activity on our campuses. Thank you in advance for your support and understanding and know that our hope is to lift that campus restriction as soon as COVID-19 trends suggest that we can without compromise.

This summer, mitigation was a focal point of our planning. We were able to install new ac units on all charter campus buildings, thus improving the circulation of air and enhancing the air quality our students will be exposed to. We will also continue CDC recommended cleaning protocols on a daily basis to promote an environment most conducive to a safe and healthy school environment. Soon, we will be adding a COVID-19 Communication link to our website that will maintain current information from the CDC, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. And in the spirit of continued transparency, this link will also provide specific information regarding positive cases, home isolation guidance and quarantines in our community.

July 7, 2021

Desert Heights Governing Board Updates

On June 29, 2021, our Governing Board voted and approved the following agenda items:

Mask wearing will be optional on all campuses effective July 2, 2021

Desert Heights Charter Schools will not offer online instruction for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year unless directed to do so by the Governor's Office


Rest assured that we will continue to prioritize safety and cleanliness on all campuses and will continue to implement recommendations for school safety made by the Arizona Department of Health Services and the CDC.

April 7, 2021

April Correspondence from Mr. Jiles

Dear Desert Heights Family,

On 3/25/2021, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2021-06, rescinding county and municipal mask mandates and business restrictions established in prior Executive Orders. However, per the Arizona Department of Health Services, the AZDHS Emergency Measure upheld requiring mask use in K-12 schools. This emergency measure is still in effect, and it appears that it will be so for the unforeseeable future. Consequently, we ask that all members of the Desert Heights Charter School community continue to abide by the mask mandate while on school property or while attending any school related activity. Masks must be worn on school and preschool campuses, on school buses and during school-associated activities by all students, faculty, staff, and visitors. We will continue to update our community on mask mandate requirements as information from the AZDHS becomes available. I would personally like to thank all of our stakeholders who have committed to doing their part to mitigate the spread of the CoronaVirus in our community!

Mark Jiles


Concern or question?

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Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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