MAP: Arizona schools and districts closing over coronavirus concerns
PHOENIX — Schools around the Valley have announced they will be closing campuses amid concerns around coronavirus.
Multiple districts in Phoenix said Thursday they would be canceling classes as health officials worked to address the spread of the virus.
Peoria Unified, Mesa Public Schools, and Phoenix Union High School District are just three of several districts upping their cleaning measures, with staff giving extra attention to high-touch areas and disinfecting school buses.
Scottsdale Unified is using its incident command team to relay updates regarding field trip cancellations and prevention measures.
Most districts now have dedicated spaces on their websites with continuous updates on coronavirus and their efforts to keep students safe.
SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT HAVE ANNOUNCED CLOSURES:
TEMPE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3
All Tempe Elementary schools will be closed beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. Students will not return to school after Spring Break until further notice.
A letter from Superintendent Christine Busch reads in part: "I want to assure all families and staff that every decision, from preventative measures like deep cleaning of our campuses, to this decision to close our schools, has been made only after thoughtful consideration of the facts and the potential impact on our community. Ensuring student and staff safety is always at the center of every decision we make in TD3, and this decision has been made with the well being of our students, staff and community in mind."
OSBORN SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Osborn School District in Phoenix has decided to close all its schools starting Monday, March 16 for a minimum of two weeks, until further notice.
A letter was sent out to parents from Superintendent Michael Robert, saying:
"Although Osborn School District might be one of the first school districts in the state of Arizona to close due to this virus, other states across the nation have opted to temporarily close their schools. It is not a matter of if this virus will spread, it’s a matter of when, and we wanted to take proactive measure to ensure our families remain healthy."
The district will be offering food service to students starting Tuesday, locations and times are not yet known.
KYRENE SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Kyrene School District in Tempe will be closed beginning Tuesday, March 17, through "at least" Friday, March 20.
Jan Vesely, Kyrene School District Superintendent, said in a statement:
After careful consideration, in consultation with the Kyrene Governing Board, I have made the decision to close all Kyrene schools in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The Kyrene Emergency Management Team has been monitoring the global spread of COVID-19 for weeks, and evidence is mounting that social distancing is the most successful containment strategy. By the time a member of our Kyrene community is diagnosed with COVID-19, it could be too late to stop the spread. I want to assure all families and staff that every decision, from preventative measures like deep cleaning of our campuses to this ultimate decision to close our schools, has been made only after thoughtful consideration of the facts and the potential impact on our community. We often say that student and staff safety is our top priority, and never has that been more true than in this moment.
The Kyrene School District has 25 locations in Arizona.
CARTWRIGHT SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Cartwright School District in Phoenix has closed all of its schools until further notice, starting Monday.
At Cartwright, we have always touted the importance of staff and student safety. These are unprecedented times, and while monitoring national efforts to curb COVID-19, we have decided to close all Cartwright schools until further notice. We want to give our families as much time as possible to make child-care arrangements. We understand this will cause great inconvenience but we stand with health officials in our commitment to stop the coronavirus spread. We believe this proactive measure will keep our families safe.
There are 21 schools in the district that serves around 17,000 students, according to their website.
ALHAMBRA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT
The Alhambra Elementary School District in Phoenix is closing all of its schools until further notice starting Monday.
District Director of Communications, Linda Jeffries, said that while they do not have any known cases of the virus with students or staff, they are shutting down as a precautionary measure to help protect students and staff.
Alhambra was the first district in the Valley to close due to the virus. Several other states across the nation have opted to also temporarily close their schools, some on statewide levels for as long as multiple weeks.
"Alhambra is in the process of developing a more detailed plan of how long schools will remain closed and other important questions parents might have, and we will continue to keep parents notified daily through our telephone notification system, district and school websites, and social media," Jeffries said in her Thursday statement.
The district covers 14 schools in parts of Phoenix and Glendale, and has more than 13,000 students.
As you already know, during spring break we are disinfecting all schools and district facilities and we will continue to use sanitary methods to keep our school community safe. While we work on a more detailed plan to keep everyone safe and informed, please continue to monitor our website csd83.org for alerts and our social media channels for updated information. As always, we will continue to update you via our telephone and email notification systems as well.
Again, please do not send your children to school on Monday. Be cautious and stay safe. -Dr. LeeAnn Aguilar-Lawlor.
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