PARADISE VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – Some Paradise Valley students are heading back to the classroom in a phased approach that started Thursday. Ninth-graders at Paradise Valley High School are among the first to return, but only if their parents chose the education model that includes in-person learning.

The Paradise Valley Unified School District has developed two models for its students. PV Online is for kids whose parents wanted to stick with virtual learning. PV Connect lets parents send their students to campus. According to the district, parents were told that if they opted for PV Online – the all virtual learning option – they would not be able to change to PC Connect until the end of the quarter or semester.

Some parents who spoke with Arizona's Family said the process of getting kids back into the classroom has been confusing. Many still have some concerns.

"I think it's a good plan to start," said Kyle Wickey about the staggered schedule. "We are going to phase in the younger kids to kind of test a few things -- hand washing stations, sanitizing, social distancing – and I think that a good idea."

Summer Bagley said it's been a long road to get here.

"Every week it's been, 'Well, we are not going to start. Well, maybe two weeks. They haven't voted,'" she explained. "It has been a very slow and frustrating and deflating process."

The first group of students to go back to school include ninth-graders, seventh-graders, and the little ones in kindergarten through third grade.

Students in other grades will be allowed back in the classroom in the coming weeks. On Oct. 12, kids in fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, and tenth grades will start back. Oct. 19, it will be the juniors' and seniors' turn. 

"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," Superintendent Dr. Jesse Welsh said in a message to parents on Oct. 1. "We will remain vigilant and plan for multiple scenarios based on whatever may happen."



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