PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Public Health Department has launched an online dashboard where people can view the level of community spread of COVID-19 in their areas, and whether or not their school district currently meets the state's recommended benchmarks to reopen for in-person instruction.
People can search and sort the Maricopa County dashboard by zip code, city, or district, which is further divided into elementary, high school or unified districts.
Maricopa County is sharing data that is not publicly available from the AZDHS. While both the state and county provide zip code data, Maricopa goes a step further by telling us the per capita infection rates, the percent of positive cases, as well as a more localized look at the COVID-like illness data from the CDC, all important metrics that are being used to survey if an area is ready to move into another phase.
The dashboard displays the overall risk using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's substantial, moderate, and minimal designations, a recommended learning scenario -- traditional, hybrid, or virtual -- and how a particular area or district compares to the state recommended benchmarks.
The dashboard will be updated every Thursday at 4 p.m., the website states.
Some school districts have begun online or virtual learning in the last few weeks, others are preparing to start soon, and others are still considering their options on when to return to in-person instruction. Some districts have pushed back their anticipated in-person start dates.
During a brief press briefing with reporters on Thursday, Gov. Doug Ducey said the state benchmarks give district officials resources and flexibility, but that ultimately he is leaving the final decision on when to return to school up to each individual district and their officials.