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Combs High School shuts down following coronavirus outbreak

(Combs HS Website Photo)

PHOENIX — Combs High School, whose district was mired in controversy in August over its decision to reopen schools before meeting public health recommendations, shut down in-person learning Wednesday following a coronavirus outbreak.

J.O. Combs Superintendent Gregory Wyman sent a letter Wednesday to families informing them that individuals who were at the high school a day earlier had tested positive for COVID-19.

The high school, located in San Tan Valley, will remain closed for in-person learning until at least Oct. 27, Wyman said.

An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed coronavirus cases who were in contact with one another but not from the same household.

“As the safety of our staff, students and community is our top priority, we want to let you know that we were informed today of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 who were last on site at Combs High School on Tuesday, October 13, 2020,” Wyman said in the letter.

All other schools and facilities in the district will remain open, according to Wyman.

The Combs district made headlines in mid-August after it voted to begin in-person learning on the first day possible despite not meeting recommended county benchmarks put out by health officials.

The district didn’t open Aug. 17 as expected after more than 100 teachers and staff called out over health concerns.  The district has around 600 teachers and staff.

The resumption of in-person instruction for the district was pushed back until Aug. 31.

Schools in neighboring Maricopa County have also been dealing with outbreaks since in-person learning resumed.

Twenty-one Phoenix-area schools have reported COVID-19 outbreaks after resuming on-campus instruction, with 19 remaining active, Maricopa County Executive Director of Public Health Marcy Flanagan told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

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