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10 Scottsdale schools may return to virtual learning after some ‘highly impacted’ by COVID-19

Audrey Jensen Arizona Republic

(CNT) City News And Talk

#gilbert-az | #chandler-az | #tempe-az | #mesa-az | #scottsdale-az | #phoenix-az | #glendale-az | #peoria-az

Ten schools in the Scottsdale Unified School District may return to virtual learning as a result of being “highly impacted by the effects” of COVID-19 in the student population and the need for not only the student’s family to quarantine but also the families of close contacts

“The trend in the metrics in those areas of our District has triggered the need to begin preparing for the potential return to virtual learning where substantial community spread is occurring,” according to the newsletter. 

The district’s plan will consider transitioning schools with the “hardest hit” ZIP codes, but it will avoid closing schools in parts of the district where COVID-19 cases remain in the moderate category of school guidelines, the letter said. 

The ZIP codes that currently have more than 100 positive cases per 100,000 people include 85251, 85018 and 85253, the newsletter said. Each ZIP code has at least 100 positive cases per 100,000 people, according to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health case dashboard as of Oct. 22. 

The schools in these ZIP codes that could potentially switch to online learning include: 

Echo Canyon School

Navajo Elementary School

Pima Traditional School

Arcadia High School

Hopi Elementary School

Ingleside Middle School

Tavan Elementary School

Chaparral High School

Cherokee Elementary School

Kiva Elementary School

According to the SUSD COVID-19 dashboard, the district had a total of 77 COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 22. Chaparral High School has 23 active cases of COVID-19, the highest number of cases of any school in the district, according to the district dashboard.

More than half of the district’s total cases, or 40 cases, were counted within the last week, while the district counted 25 additional active cases the week prior, according to the dashboard. 

In the first week a geographic area increases to a substantial category of 100 or more cases per 100,000 people, the county recommends the school leaders plan a transition to virtual learning with onsite support. If the area stays at 100 or higher for a second consecutive week, the schools should shift to a virtual learning model, according to the department dashboard.

“We want to ensure that we are doing our part to reduce community spread of COVID-19 while also continue to meet the educational needs (academic as well as social-emotional) of our students,” the letter said. 

As of Oct. 22, the Scottsdale Unified School District is at a moderate category with 80.17 cases per 100,000 people, according to the county public health department dashboard. 

The newsletter also reminded families that the district’s ability to have on-campus learning and activities depends on “everyone’s behavior in the community.” 

The district said it expects students and staff to wear masks while on any school campus, bus or other district property, social distance, wash hands and clean every day and for family members to stay in their vehicles when dropping off or picking up students.