Back to school background with school supplies.

For most West Valley schools, next week is back to school—but hardly back to normal.

After previously ordering schools not to open classrooms for in-person teaching until Aug. 17, Gov. Doug Ducey said at a July 23 press conference that the opening date for in-person learning is left to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Arizona will be open for learning,” Ducey said. “And our priorities are going to be public health and safety.”

The benchmarks for opening schools have not yet been released from ADHS; however, most districts plan to start school in a distanced format on their originally planned date.

Despite the possibility of in-person classes still not being in session, Ducey announced that districts must have a location ready to open Aug. 17 for parents who need supervision for their children.

“Children deserve a safe learning environment,” he said. “So our schools must provide free, on-site learning.”

Many West Valley districts are offering options for families once classrooms are open for in-person learning. In addition to in-person and self-paced online models, districts plan to offer “distance learning,” a remote learning model that is led by a live teacher and set to a schedule. 

Here are what the West Valley districts have planned as of July 27.

Tolleson Union High School District

This district includes Copper Canyon High School in Glendale, La Joya Community High School; West Point High School and Westview High School in Avondale; and Tolleson Union High School and University High School in Tolleson.

TUHSD plans to begin classes Tuesday, Aug. 4, in a distance learning format.

Once classrooms are open for in-person learning, families will have a choice between flexible, in-person or fully online learning.

Flexible learning was designed to make it easy to transition between remote and in-person learning. Those who chose the fully online option must stay in it until at least the end of the semester and receive counselor approval to transition back to in-person learning.

Agua Fria Union High School District

This district includes Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Canyon View High School in Waddell, Desert Edge High School and Millennium High School in Goodyear and Verrado High School in Buckeye.

The district also offers a choice between remote, in-person and online learning when classrooms are cleared to reopen.

All students will begin school in a remote format, and the district plans to move to an in-person hybrid format when it is deemed safe.

Freshman students will begin school Monday, Aug. 3, for orientation day. All other students will begin classes Tuesday, Aug. 4.

The first three days of virtual learning will be half days.

Buckeye Union High School District

This district includes Buckeye Union High School, Youngker High School and the BUHSD Learning Center in Buckeye and Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear.

BUHSD will begin school Wednesday, Aug. 5, in a distance learning format and plans to move to a hybrid model once it is deemed safe.

Families have been given an option between the in-person hybrid model and fully online learning. Those who choose the fully online model will be given the option to switch to an in-person model at break.

Saddle Mountain Unified

School District

This district includes Tartesso Elementary School in Buckeye and Tonopah Valley High School in Tonopah.

SMUSD will begin classes Thursday, Aug. 6, in a remote format.

Options for students eventually will include remote, in-person and fully online learning.

Students in remote or in-person learning will participate in classes four days a week starting on Tuesdays and ending on Fridays.

Online learners will be self-paced and have access to their materials all the time.

Avondale Elementary School District

This district includes three kindergarten through eighth-grade schools, two preschool through eighth-grade schools, two elementary schools, one middle school and three specialized academies with focuses in STEM, special education and gifted education.

AESD will begin school Monday, Aug. 3, in a distance learning environment.

Students will later have options of online and in-person learning.

The fully online digital academy is designed to be a full-year commitment. 

Buckeye Elementary School District

This district includes Bales Elementary School, Buckeye Elementary Preschool, Buckeye Elementary School, Inca Elementary School, Marionneaux Elementary School, Steven R. Jasinski Elementary School, Sundance Elementary School and WestPark Elementary School in Buckeye.

BESD plans to begin classes in an online format Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Families were given the option for their children to participate in distance, in-person or fully online learning.

The online option is designed to be a full-year commitment, but those in distance learning will have the opportunity to transition back to in-person learning at the end of each quarter once schools are open.

Littleton Elementary School District

This district includes Collier Elementary School, Estrella Vista STEM Academy, Littleton Elementary STEM Academy and Quentin STEM Academy in Avondale and Country Place Leadership Academy, Fine Arts Academy and Tres Rios Service Academy in Tolleson.

LESD began school in a remote format July 29.

Families have options for their children to participate in distance, in-person or fully online learning.

LESD distributed laptops to students recently.

Litchfield Elementary School District

This district includes nine elementary schools, four middle schools, two preschool through eighth-grade schools, a public day school and an online school.

LESD plans to begin school in a distanced learning environment Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Families were offered the choice of  distance, in-person or fully online learning.

The district planned virtual open houses Monday, Aug. 3, and Tuesday, Aug. 4.