AZDHS revises recommended coronavirus guidelines for schools

Oct 27, 2020, 8:55 PM | Updated: 9:05 pm

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Health Services updated the recommended guidelines for schools deciding which model to deliver instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The updated guidance recommends school districts transition from hybrid to virtual learning if all three benchmarks move to substantial for two weeks.

The guidance also urges schools that are in a county with one benchmark in the red category for two weeks or more to consult with their local health department about whether to transition back to virtual models.

These recommendations apply even if different benchmarks constitute the two or more weeks in the red zone.

Before the revision, AZDHS recommended schools close if just one of the benchmarks was in the most severe category for two weeks.

The dashboard is based on levels set by the Arizona Department of Health Services in three metrics: confirmed COVID-19 cases, percent positivity of diagnostic testing and percentage of hospital visits for COVID-like illnesses.

AZDHS’ schools dashboard was designed to provide guidance, but districts have the final say in the type of instruction they offer.

The new guidance comes as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state. On Tuesday, Arizona health authorities reported 1,157 new coronavirus cases and 16 additional deaths, bringing the state’s documented totals at 240,122 COVID-19 infections and 5,891 fatalities.

According to the Maricopa County school’s dashboard, 36 schools have reported COVID-19 outbreaks on their campuses.

An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed coronavirus cases who were in contact with one another but not from the same household. The outbreak is officially closed when a school goes 28 days without a new case.

Most schools have continued with their on-campus learning after reporting cases, instead taking steps such as requiring off-campus quarantines for students who may have been exposed.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Pexels photo)...
Associated Press

Teen boy found shot to death in San Tan Valley home

Authorities in Pinal County are investigating the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy.
1 day ago
(AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)...
Danny Shapiro

Hoffman says ruling against mask mandate bans in Arizona schools ‘right decision’

Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said a Monday ruling that a law banning face mask mandates in Arizona schools violates the state constitution and can’t go into effect this week as scheduled was the right move for students, parents and administrators.
1 day ago
(ADOT photo)...

I-17 south of downtown Phoenix back to 3 lanes as bridge project nears completion

The third lane in each direction of Interstate 17 south of downtown Phoenix has reopened after more than a year as a bridge project nears completion.
1 day ago
(Pexels Photo)...

Valley nonprofit to build affordable housing for seniors with $9.1M federal grant

An Arizona nonprofit will receive $9.1 million in federal funding to develop affordable housing in the West Valley city of Surprise for low-income seniors.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

1 child dead, another critically hurt after being shot at south Phoenix residence

One child is dead and another was in critical condition Monday after being shot at a residence in south Phoenix, police said.
1 day ago
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)...
Kevin Stone

Judge strikes down Arizona law banning face mask mandates in schools

An Arizona Superior Court judge ruled that a law banning face mask mandates in schools violates the state constitution and can't go into effect this week as scheduled.
1 day ago
AZDHS revises recommended coronavirus guidelines for schools