ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County on pace to hit schools COVID-19 benchmarks in 1 week

Aug 27, 2020, 10:00 AM | Updated: 10:47 am
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County moved closer to returning to in-person learning, meeting two of three coronavirus benchmarks recommended for safe in-person learning again, Arizona health officials reported Thursday.

The area will need to meet all three benchmarks for two consecutive weeks before children can return to brick-and-mortar schooling.

The Maricopa County positivity rate was 6.1% for the most recent week of data in the dashboard and needs to stay under 7% for another week for the region to enter the recommended opening stage.

According to the health department’s daily COVID-19 dashboard as of Thursday morning, Maricopa County’s positivity rate for the week of Aug. 16, which will be added to the dashboard next week, was 5%.

The county met the benchmarks for decline in cases and hospital visits for a fourth week.

The health agency recommends the benchmarks be at moderate or minimal community spread levels for at least two weeks to allow hybrid learning.

Dashboard data came from the weeks starting Aug. 2 and Aug. 9 and doesn’t count the past 12 days because of potential lags in information.

The metrics are guidelines, not requirements, and were produced in a joint effort between state health and education leaders.

Some Arizona public schools, as they are allowed, have already started in-person instruction.

The dashboard went online three weeks ago and will be updated every Thursday.

Mesa Public Schools plans to begin modified in-person learning Sept. 14 if the county meets all the benchmarks.

Should that happen, students would alternate days when they attend classes in person or learn online.

Schools shut down in-person learning March 16 because of the coronavirus.

Each of the 15 counties met at least one metric and four – Apache, Greenlee, La Paz and Yavapai – met all three.

Here’s a county-by-county breakdown in how they fared meeting the benchmarks:

Apache – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks

Cochise – Hits 2 of benchmarks

Coconino – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks

Gila – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks

Graham – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks

Greenlee – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks

La Paz – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks

Mohave – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks

Navajo – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks

Pima – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks

Pinal – Hits 1 of 3 benchmarks

Santa Cruz – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks

Yavapai – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks

Yuma – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks

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Maricopa County on pace to hit schools COVID-19 benchmarks in 1 week