More metro Phoenix schools reporting active COVID-19 outbreaks
PHOENIX — More metro Phoenix schools are reporting active COVID-19 outbreaks as classes resume for the fall semester.
Eighteen schools across the Valley reported active COVID-19 outbreaks to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health as of Thursday, up from 12 on Wednesday.
Five of those are high schools, and the vast majority of cases are among students.
An outbreak is defined as two or more confirmed COVID-19 cases who were in close contact with one another but are not from the same household.
“Once an outbreak is open, we look for the school to go several weeks without having any new cases before we consider that outbreak closed,” Dr. Sarah Scott, a medical epidemiologist at the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said.
She added the county works closely with a school that has an outbreak. They help with contact tracing and recommend infected individuals isolate at home.
At Desert Vista High School in the Tempe Union High School District, contact tracing led the school to find several COVID-19 cases among football players.
A spokesperson for the district told KTAR News 92.3 FM that six football players have tested positive and are quarantined. An additional 16 players are also quarantined due to exposure, and activities for the school’s varsity and junior varsity teams have been put on pause.
Another school in Tempe sent an entire class home this week. On Tuesday, a third grade class at Hudson Elementary School had to quarantine after coming in close contact with somebody who tested positive for COVID-19.
In a letter to parents, the elementary school said the class will be allowed back on campus on Aug. 16. Students will do online learning until then.
The letter also cites the Maricopa County Department of Public Health’s and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation for 10 days of home quarantine after confirmed COVID-19 exposures.
Three classes at Arizona City Elementary were also sent home this week due to COVID-19 exposures. Two of the classes are expected to return to school on Monday, and the other class on Aug. 16.
“Do not send your child to school when your child is sick for any reason,” Superintendent Denise Rogers wrote in a letter to parents from the school. “We must all work together to reduce the cases and exposure within our community.”