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Peoria school district closes 9 schools Monday amid staff shortage

(Facebook Photo/Peoria High School)

PHOENIX — The Peoria Unified School District announced Friday that three elementary schools and six high schools will be closed Monday due to not having enough staff to support a safe environment for students.

Elementary schools closed Monday include Country Meadows, Pioneer and Santa Fe, while the high schools closed include Cactus, Centennial, Ironwood, Liberty, Peoria High School and Sunrise Mountain.

Posted on the school district’s website, it was said that all possible options were explored to keep the schools open.

Virtual instruction will also not take place for the closed schools.

The school board voted on Dec. 10 to fully reopen with both virtual and in-person instruction regardless of coronavirus benchmark data on Jan. 4.

The most recent data for Maricopa County, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services dashboard, has coronavirus cases per 100,000 individuals, percent positivity and hospital visits for COVID-like illnesses all in the substantial range.

Virtual instruction is recommended in the guidelines, however, the decision of instruction method are the district’s own to make.

Peoria Educators United started a campaign to reinstate the metrics with nearly 1,000 letters sent as of Friday night, adding in a Facebook post that “teaching full-size class with no social distance at the HEIGHT of the pandemic is not safe for anyone involved, and for their families.”

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman on Jan. 2 proposed Gov. Doug Ducey order schools to learn remotely for a “limited two-week period” due to the coronavirus spike in the Valley.

Ducey’s office told ABC15’s Danielle Lerner on Jan. 2 that the governor would not consider the request, adding it’s a local decision.

State health officials on Friday reported 11,658 new coronavirus cases with the weekly percent positivity for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, being the highest its ever been at 26% so far this week after setting a record of 25% last week.

Friday’s report also had the third-largest daily death report, with the top three coming since Tuesday.

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