MESA, AZ — Arizona's largest school district is moving ahead with a five-day in-person school week for thousands of students starting Monday.
Mesa Public Schools got the go-ahead from state health metrics on Friday to bring students back in the classroom for five days a week on Monday, October 12, in a modified plan that continues health precautions.
Students will still be expected to conduct mandatory health screenings daily, which include temperature checks and self-assessment for symptoms.
The district is allowing students who opted for virtual learning to remain online.
"I am [comfortable] because I think they take a lot of precautions, the faculty and administrators to make sure that the rooms are clean, that the desks are clean, the kids wear masks at all times," said Leslie Heidrick, whose son Caleb is a sophomore at Red Mountain High School.
"I don’t feel that it’s the right time," said Christine Tarango, mom to a junior at Red Mountain High School. "Now that we’re going back five days, it just increases the chances, not just the time period they’re going to be exposed but the number of people there as well."
As of Sunday night, there are 28 active COVID-19 cases in the Mesa Public School District. Nineteen of those are at high schools. Mesa Public Schools has created a COVID-19 dashboard that shows the number of cases in the district, breaking it down by individual schools and the district offices.
As part of the district's mitigation plan, all students K-12 are required to wear masks. Students also cannot share or borrow any item from another student, and water fountains are strictly for refilling water bottles.
The district's jurisdiction has a COVID-19 positivity rate of less than five percent since early September.
Mesa Public Schools has also partnered with the City of Mesa to provide free COVID-19 testing and flu shots for students. The next event to receive either is on Saturday, October 17, at Webster Elementary School from 9 a.m. to noon.