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Mesa Public Schools expands to 5-day in-person class schedule

(Instagram Photo/Mesa Public Schools)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s largest public school district is moving to its next phase of reopening.

Mesa Public Schools, which serves more than 63,000 K-12 students at 70-plus campuses, returned from fall break on Monday to a modified five-day in-person schedule.

MPS also has launched a COVID-19 dashboard to be updated each Thursday. As of last week, the district reported active cases at 11 campuses, including five of its six high schools.

The district had been on a hybrid system, with students alternating between in-person and virtual learning to limit the on-campus population, since Sept. 14. MPS started remote learning Aug. 4.

Online-only courses remain available for families who have chosen not to send their kids back to school in person this semester.

MPS will continue enforcing health protocols as it lets more students onto campuses, including daily health home screenings, mandatory face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing where possible.

It’s up to districts to make decisions on opening levels, while state and county health departments have been offering recommendations based on three COVID-19 benchmarks.

Mesa officials said the decision to expand on-campus activity was based on recent metrics, although the district remained in the hybrid learning level based on Maricopa County’s dashboard.

The area within the Mesa Public Schools boundary is at the lowest risk level in two of the three metrics tracked by the state and county.

The MPS COVID-19 dashboard showed 19 active student cases and nine adult cases as of Thursday.

It does not break down cases by student and staff for individual schools.

Mesa High and Mountain View High each had five active cases, while Red Mountain had four, Skyline three and Westwood two.

One elementary school (Guerrero) had two cases, and three elementary schools (Lincoln, Pomeroy and Stevenson) and two junior highs (Shepherd and Taylor) each had one case.

District departments also had two cases.

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