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LIVE UPDATES: COVID-19 outbreaks reported at Valley schools, districts

Virus Outbreak Standardized Tests
Posted at 11:03 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 19:46:13-04

PHOENIX — Coronavirus continues to be a concern for many as kids get back to school for the 2021-2022 school year.

Despite only being in class for a matter of days, some schools and districts are reporting outbreaks of the virus. An “outbreak” means there were "two or more students or staff who could have been close contacts only in the school with confirmed COVID-19 cases in a two-week period," according to Maricopa County.

LIST: Valley schools with mask, vaccine mandates

Here's the latest information about coronavirus cases at Valley schools:

Friday, Aug. 13

Tuesday, Aug 10

Tuesday, Aug 10

The Flagstaff Unified School District governing board has voted to require masks when indoors

The Flagstaff Unified School District's governing board voted to require the use of face masks when indoors on school property as part of its district's mitigation plan during its regular governing board meeting Aug. 10.

The mask requirement will go into effect on the first day of school, Aug. 11, and it applies to all persons while indoors and on school property including on school buses. Students, staff and visitors needing a mask will be supplied with one.

Tuesday, Aug 10

Tuesday, Aug 10

Littleton Elementary in Avondale has quarantined 16 classrooms in the first 10 days of school.

Tuesday, Aug 10

Monday, Aug 9

Summit Academy also notified parents of an outbreak, Monday.

Dear Summit Academy staff and families,

Today we received confirmation that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. The most recent date of exposure was August 6. The individual will not return to campus until their isolation/quarantine is complete. Students and staff who shared a classroom(s) with the individual will receive a separate communication from the school.

According to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH), a COVID-19 outbreak in a school means two or more students or staff were confirmed to have COVID-19 in a 10-day period and could have had close contact only in the school. Under this definition, the school is experiencing an outbreak.

Mesa Public Schools is following recommendations from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to stop COVID-19 from spreading in our schools. This includes reminding students and staff to stay home when they are sick and getting a PCR or antigen test. High-touch surface areas are disinfected regularly, and we encourage frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizer by students and staff members. While masks are strongly recommended but not required, they remain part of our mitigation strategy. We continue to monitor and review data school by school, program by program, classroom by classroom.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the principal’s office for more information. In addition, MCDPH has a dedicated email to receive public health inquiries from parents/guardians of students, if needed: COVIDparenthotline@maricopa.gov. More information can also be found at Maricopa.gov/Covid19 [track.spe.schoolmessenger.com].

Please notify the school attendance line if you plan to keep your child home.

Thank you for your patience and for helping us keep our schools safe.

Sincerely,
Mark Andrews Holly Williams
Principal, Summit Academy Associate Superintendent

Monday, Aug. 9

Higley High School learned of 20 new cases Monday. The following letter was sent to students' parents:

This is a notification that Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) has identified an outbreak of COVID-19 at Higley High School. There is no action for you to take at this time. Today, Higley High School received 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Public Health is currently working closely with administration and staff to identify close contacts of the individuals who have tested positive to prevent further spread of the disease. You will receive a separate notification if you/your child are/is identified as having had close contact with a positive case. All close contacts of positive cases, except those considered essential workers or those fully vaccinated, will be required to stay home from school (quarantine) for 7 or 10 days from the last exposure, according to MCDPH’s Quarantine Guidance for Household and Close Contacts [na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com].

A school outbreak of COVID-19 is defined as:

  • Two or more students or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period; and
    • Could have had some close contact such as in a classroom or on a school sports team;
    • Do not live in the same household; and
    • Were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during a Public Health case investigation (e.g. friends who play together in each other’s homes).

COVID-19 is still circulating in our community. The best way to keep you and your family safe from respiratory diseases like COVID -19 and the flu is to:

  • Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people (at least 6 feet).
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.
  • Get a flu vaccine.

If you/your child or a family member is experiencing COVID-like symptoms (fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, headache, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, muscle/body aches, and/or a new loss of taste or smell), do not attend work/school, and consider either seeking healthcare or getting a COVID-19 PCR or antigen test, depending on the severity of symptoms. Testing locations can be found by calling 2-1-1.
For questions related to COVID-19, please either email COVIDparenthotline@maricopa.gov or dial 2-1-1, select option 6 (for COVID-19), and then select option 3 (for the COVID Parent Hotline) or visit www.Maricopa.gov/COVID19 [na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com].

Sincerely,
Higley Unified School District Administration Team

Saturday, Aug. 7

Of 374 COVID-19 outbreaks in all schools, there are 22 active "outbreaks," according to Maricopa County health data.

Of 1,548 school outbreak-associated COVID-19 cases in all schools, 1,158 are in students and 390 are in staff.

Friday, Aug. 6

"Due to the details surrounding the current active cases at Ellsworth Elementary, all fifth and sixth grade classes at that school will temporarily move to remote learning through Friday, August 13, 2021. In-person learning for those classes will resume on Monday, August 16, 2021. During this time, students will learn remotely from home via Google Classroom, and should be monitored for any signs of potential illness. In order to avoid additional potential exposure upon return, families are directed to proactively quarantine their children during this time."

  • J.O. Combs Unified School District is reporting 25 active COVID-19 cases at Combs High School. No changes to the academic setting have been announced for that school.

Thursday, Aug. 5

  • J.O. Combs Unified School District is reporting 44 active COVID-19 cases at Ellsworth Elementary School as well as 18 at Combs High School.
  • Peoria Unified School District: Sunset Heights Elementary School and Raymond S. Kellis High School have current outbreaks, according to a district spokesperson.

Wednesday, Aug. 4

  • San Carlos Unified School District: District officials say a student enrolled at Rice Primary Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. Primary, Intermediate and Middle School will not report to school Thursday, Aug. 5, and Friday, Aug. 6

Tuesday, Aug. 3

  • Chandler Unified School District: Hamilton High School has 32 active cases at the school, according to its COVID-19 data dashboard. Chandler High School and Perry High School also have numerous cases.

Monday, Aug. 2

Note: These updates may not include all outbreaks/cases, and are only ones reported to ABC15.