Obie Dewoody, 7, writes numbers as his Holladay Magnet Elementary teacher takes attendance online.

The year may have just started, but for families with students starting a new school in Fall 2021 it's already time to start making some decisions.  

To help families weigh their options, Tucson Unified School District will host virtual open houses throughout January giving prospective families a look at what each school has to offer. 

The month-long event replaces a large drive-thru school information event originally scheduled to happen this weekend which was called off due to the surging COVID-19 cases, says Karla Escamilla, a spokeswoman for the district. 

TUSD is the largest district in the city and every school will host its own open house on Zoom. Principals and staff will share information about their school's unique features, programs and extracurricular activities. School leaders will also show videos and slideshows about their campuses and answer questions from participants. 

The district's larger high schools will host break out rooms in their open houses where parents and students can meet with different teachers, counselors, and in some cases, see demonstrations from students showing how programs and classes have been adapted for online learning.   

The district is also working on web pages specifically for families with students starting middle school and high school in Fall 2021 with information about schools categorized by the different programs offered at each school, Escamilla says. The middle school page will go live in February and the high school page will be up in less than a month. 

For students interested in attending a school other than their home school through the district's open enrollment/magnet program it's best to submit the application as soon as possible for the best chance at being selected for your first choice school. The first lottery for the program will happen on Jan. 17 and additional lotteries will happen throughout the spring. 

It's highly likely most students will be selected to attend their first choice school, due to a decline in enrollment across the district and an increase in capacity at the district's most popular schools, Escamilla says. 

Online enrollment for students who will be attending their home schools or who have already been accepted into the magnet school of their choice starts Feb. 1. 

If you miss an open house or still need more info, school principals, office staff and counselors are still working on-site at schools and can be reached by phone. TUSD's School Community Services department can also provide information about choosing a school and registration. 

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