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Most Arizona counties meeting schools COVID hybrid benchmarks

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Nearly all counties in Arizona are meeting the schools benchmarks to safely offer hybrid learning, health data showed Thursday.

Eleven of the state’s 15 counties met the marks that allow students to learn in person and online, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services dashboard.

Data came from the week starting Aug. 30 and doesn’t count the past 12 days because of potential lags in information.

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

Maricopa County hit all three benchmarks: cases per 100,000; a positivity rate below 7% and hospital visits for COVID-like illnesses.

Earlier this week, Phoenix Union High School District announced remote learning would remain in place through the end of the year.

The 21 campuses originally were distance-learning through the first quarter. District Superintendent Chad Gestson said Monday that had been extended through the second quarter, which ends in December.

More than 27,000 students attend school in the district.

Gestson cited continued “substantial levels” of community spread within the district’s zip codes.

Only Greenlee County met the recommendations for in-person learning.

The health department defines the spread level into three categories: green for minimal, yellow for moderate and red for substantial.

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

Two students and an adult at Red Mountain High School in Mesa tested positive for the virus this week.

The school said in a letter to families that the risk of exposure to other children was low because of safety protocols in place.

The three positive tests came from participants on a sports team.

The Mesa school began modified in-person learning Monday.

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

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

Apache – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Cochise – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Coconino – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Gila – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks.

Graham – Hit 1 of 3 benchmarks.

Greenlee – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

La Paz – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Maricopa – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Mohave – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks.

Navajo – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Pima – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Pinal – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Santa Cruz – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Yavapai – Hits 3 of 3 benchmarks.

Yuma – Hits 2 of 3 benchmarks.

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