ARIZONA NEWS

Tempe 3rd grade class sent home to quarantine after COVID exposure

Aug 4, 2021, 2:39 PM | Updated: 2:50 pm
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PHOENIX – An entire Tempe elementary school class is on home quarantine after coming in close contact with somebody who tested positive for COVID-19, authorities said Wednesday.

Hudson Elementary School, which started classes Monday, sent a letter Tuesday to parents saying the exposed third grade class will be allowed back on campus Aug. 16.

A Tempe Elementary School District spokeswoman told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday that the students all have access to Chromebooks for online learning during their quarantine.

The letter cites the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation for 10 days of home quarantine after confirmed COVID-19 exposures.

“Close contacts are people who were within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 while infectious for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period or who had physical contact with a person with COVID-19 while infectious, regardless of whether masks were worn,” the letter says.

Hudson said classrooms and other areas exposed were deep cleaned.

“We strongly encourage all staff and students to wear a face covering while in the workplace/school and we are following our district mitigation plan,” the letter says.

Tempe Elementary has not imposed a face mask mandate, a move some districts have made in defiance of Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature.

In June, Ducey signed a ban on mask requirements into law as part of the state budget. The bill that includes the ban doesn’t go into effect until Sept. 29, but it contains a clause to make the mask provision retroactive to June 30.

While defending its mask mandate in court Wednesday, however, the Phoenix Union High School District argued that the law isn’t in effect yet. A judge has yet to rule on the issue.

Proponents of the ban say it will keep students from being denied opportunities for in-person education after doing so much remote learning last school year. Critics, including, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, think local authorities should be able to decide what’s best for the the health of their students and staff.

“We want our kids back in the classroom learning,” Hoffman told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show last week after a Yavapai County school district closed campuses less than a week after they opened because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

“But when COVID-19 is spreading and people are testing positive or they’re exposed and … they can’t be back in the school building, then we’re creating a situation that is the opposite of what Gov. Ducey and I want.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore contributed to this report.

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