Superintendent’s Message: Dr. Jesse Welsh, PVSchools

Dr. Jesse Welsh,
Superintendent, Paradise Valley Unified School District

The COVID-19 pandemic has been shaping the situation across our country in all aspects of life. We are all continuing to adjust to find the right balance of interaction, social distancing and health precautions in our work and personal lives. Those impacts have been felt in our schools also and continue to ripple out as we plan for the upcoming school year. While guiding students on their journey of learning continues to be our goal, our focus for this fall must also be on ensuring the health and safety of our students and staff, to the greatest extent possible. When we open schools in the fall, it will be with additional measures in place; sanitizing of surfaces, increased handwashing and sanitizer stations, health precautions and other safety measures.

While there is hope that the pandemic may subside, there is also uncertainty. Much like the 1918 Flu Pandemic, we cannot be sure if there will be a “second wave” of COVID-19 cases. Nothing like this has occurred within our lifetimes. We continue to plan for multiple scenarios so that we can be ready, whatever the outcome. In addition to a traditional opening, this includes options both for delaying opening or moving to a distance learning model if necessary.

The events of the last several months have weighed heavily on families and our students. We know that, when school resumes, we must address the mental health of our students as well. The uncertainty, disruption, stress and financial strain many have experienced cannot be allowed to impact learning.

Yet, in spite of these challenges, we remain resilient. In March, when our schools closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, teachers pivoted to distance learning within a week. Our students rose to the challenge and, with support from families, continued to learn at home. Whatever challenges we may face this school year, we will be prepared and adapt, maintaining the safety of our students, staff and families.

To contact Dr. Welsh or learn more about the Paradise Valley Unified School District, call 602.449.2000 or visit

This editorial was originally published in the JUNE 2020 issue of CITYSunTimes. Read it here.

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