• pandemic team logo

    The top priority of the Balsz Elementary School District is to ensure our students and teachers have a healthy and safe environment for learning.  That’s why Superintendent Dr. Arleen Kennedy and the Balsz School District Governing Board created the Pandemic Team. The Team is funded by a grant. Their mission is to:

    Identify, develop and implement programming, resources and partnerships to support Balsz students, families and faculty during the pandemic. 

    Meet Our Team Members

    pandemic team members  

    Left to right: Dr. Ann Hart, Susan Karesky, Michelle Gahee

    Dr. Ann Hart is a highly experienced school administrator and education consultant
    Susan Karesky is a public relations consultant with experience in healthcare
    Michelle Gahee, JD, is an attorney who is an experienced policy, healthcare and media professional


    October 2020 Team Highlights

    Pandemic Team News

    • The Pandemic Team is committed to offering guidance and resources to support & help protect Balsz schools during this pandemic.
    • The team met with district administrators and community leaders to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their areas.
    • The team then developed findings and recommendations from school site visits for the first phase of our Governing Board presentation.

    FAQs for Balsz Parents

    • How often should I wash my child’s face covering/mask?
      • Masks should be washed after every day of use or if visibly dirty.
      • If you have a younger child, consider writing their initials on the mask to avoid confusion or swapping.
      • Store masks in a clear plastic bag and label with your child’s name.
    • How can I help my child understand why they have to wear a mask?
      • Talk with your child about how to correctly wear a mask.
      • Explain that by wearing a mask they are protecting their family and friends.     

    Zip Code Update

    Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the 85008 zip code. Balsz School District is monitoring the benchmarks for schools established by the state.  You can see the latest numbers here.

    COVID-19 Summary

    There is substantial community spread of COVID-19 in Maricopa County. Please protect yourself and your family by wearing a mask, washing your hands, staying 6 feet away from people you do not live with and staying home when possible. Together we can reduce the spread of the virus.


    September 2020 Team Highlights

    Pandemic Team News:

    • Reviewed COVID-19 policies and best practices from the Balsz School District, county and state health departments, Centers for Disease Control and school districts across the country.
    • Visited all Balsz schools to see the safety precautions put in place on each campus. 

    FAQs for Balsz Parents

    • Can my child wear a plastic face shield instead of a mask?
      • No, children must wear a mask unless there is a medical reason they cannot.
      • The CDC does not recommend using a face shield as a substitute for a cloth mask.
      • A face shield is primarily used for eye protect for the person wearing it.
    • Where can I get tested for COVID-19?
      • Testing is now widely available, and many places offer free tests. You can find testing locations on the Maricopa County and Arizona Department of Health websites.


    The Pandemic Team’s 3 W’s
    ear a face covering

    Walk 6 feet apart
    Wash your hands

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