turn off

Due to COVID-19, the decision to close schools in March was swift: Governor Doug Ducey announced the closure of buildings one day as the state is preparing to accept the effects of the virus.

Now, a public school in Arizona has once again opened its doors to students.

However, although the number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona is steadily declining, the spread of the virus may accelerate again. However, it seems that the school will not be closed again under the package order.

Instead, it is more likely to be decided based on the school’s decision-making situation, depending on the degree of transmission in the community and whether the school itself is breaking out.

Dr. Carla Crystal, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said: “A lot of the situation will depend on what that school and the county’s specific school board do.”

Weighing data

When deciding when to reopen schools, state health officials narrowed the state COVID-19 indicator to three data points:

  • COVID cases have declined for two consecutive weeks, or the case rate is lower than 100 cases per 100,000.
  • The infection rate for two consecutive weeks was less than 7%.
  • Hospital visits for COVID-like diseases remained below 10% for two consecutive weeks.

County health officials divide these numbers by zip code and school district to show areas with widespread, medium, and minimal transmission. In areas with moderate or minimal transmission, health guidelines recommend that schools be opened.

Christ said, too, if the number of people exceeds the state’s benchmark for two consecutive weeks, health officials recommend that schools return to virtual learning.

She said: “If an indicator returns to substantial proliferation… we recommend that they start preparing for virtual learning.”

She said, but the final decision will not be made by state health officials. Instead, it will depend on the local school board.

Gilbert (Gilbert) board member Jill Humpherys (Jill Humpherys) said that since the state’s health indicators were announced, she has been studying carefully.

On September 8, Gilbert’s school opened the opportunity to learn face-to-face, but at most only half of the students were on campus that day. If the number of cases is still low, students will follow the rotation schedule and will return to the full week schedule on September 21.

Humpherys said: “I hope people are really motivated to do things that keep our indicators good: wear masks, wash their hands, keep their distance from society, and stay at home as much as possible.”

Contact the reporter on Lily.Altavena@ArizonaRepublic.com, or follow her on Twitter @LilyAlta.

Support local news. Subscribe to azcentral.com now.

Read or share this story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2020/09/16/coronavirus-arizona-school-closures-health-officials-cara-christ-covid- 19 cases/ 5758617002/