ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona does not plan for widespread school closures due to coronavirus

Mar 12, 2020, 3:20 PM | Updated: 5:25 pm

(AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)...

(AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

(AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

PHOENIX  — State health officials are not recommending a widespread closure of schools across Arizona due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Even so, Alhambra Elementary School District became the first in the Valley to close all of its schools due to virus concerns, spokeswoman Linda Jeffries announced Thursday.

The school district said in a statement it didn’t have any known cases but “this decision is simply a precaution to ensure the health and well-being of all of our students and employees.”

The district will be closed indefinitely starting Monday.

“At this time, the general recommendation in Arizona is that schools remain open,” Jessica Rigler, assistant director at the state Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday. “We know this disease is very, very mild in children.”

Rigler said the COVID-19 virus doesn’t affect children in the same way as older adults, who can get severe cases. Schools provide lots of other services, like free and reduced prices lunches, stability for children, and in some cases a stable adult that the child may not have at home.

Larger public health challenges are also dictating the decision, she said.

State officials are encouraging keeping schools clean, recommending frequent washing of hands and sending students and staff home if they are sick.

Several school districts are currently on spring break.

“Monitor your child’s health and keep them home from school if they’re not feeling well,” Rigler said. “Encourage them to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer frequently throughout the day.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

“The Arizona Department of Education is working closely with public health officials to ensure we are taking the right steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said in a press release.

“We will continue to ensure our school leaders and personnel are up-to-date on the latest information so we can protect the health and safety of our students and faculty.”

In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 60,000 have so far recovered.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A suspect who accidentally shot and killed a fellow IRS agent at a federal gun range in Phoenix was...

Danny Shapiro

Suspect indicted on manslaughter charge in death of fellow IRS agent in Phoenix

A suspect who accidentally shot and killed a fellow IRS agent at a federal gun range in Phoenix was indicted on a manslaughter charge, authorities announced Friday.

10 minutes ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

1 hour ago

A sign in front of a building identifies Valleywise Behavioral Health Center – Maryvale in Phoeni...

Kevin Stone

Valleywise Health replenishing mental health care capacity after staffing setback

Valleywise Health is working to replenish its mental health care capacity after cutting back because of staffing shortages in 2022.

2 hours ago

Split image of a Spin e-scooter on the left and the boundary map for Phoenix's Shared Micromobility...

Kevin Stone

Phoenix pilot program allows e-scooter, e-bike and bicycle rentals 24 hours a day

Phoenix is expanding its Shared Micromobility Program on a trial basis, allowing e-bike, e-scooter and bicycle riders to rent and roll all night.

3 hours ago

File photo of a Phoenix police cruiser at a crime scene behind yellow tape...

KTAR.com

Driver of vehicle leaving scene of shooting dies after fiery collision in Phoenix

The driver of a car speeding away from the scene of a shooting in west Phoenix died after a fiery collision Thursday afternoon.

4 hours ago

Former Arizona State Sen. Tony Navarette was convicted of one count of sexual conduct with a minor ...

ABC15 Arizona

Former Arizona Sen. Tony Navarette convicted of sexual conduct with a minor

Former Arizona State Sen. Tony Navarette has been convicted of one count of sexual conduct with a minor.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Arizona does not plan for widespread school closures due to coronavirus