Nearly the entire West Valley “went red” last week—and it had nothing to do with elections.
Maricopa County keeps a color-coded COVID-19 school metrics map, with districts, cities and ZIP codes. Green means little spread of the coronavirus, yellow means moderate spread and red indicates the virus is spreading substantially.
The map is updated Thursdays. The Nov. 12 results are leading Glendale districts to look at closing classrooms again.
“More school districts and other areas on the map are in red this week due to having one or more benchmarks in substantial spread for two consecutive weeks,” the county website noted.
Litchfield Park and most of Glendale were in the red last week.
But much of Peoria remained yellow.
As such, Peoria Unified School and Deer Valley Unified School districts are keeping Peoria classrooms open.
According to a recent PUSD Facebook post, replying to a parent asking if the district was closing classrooms, “... We continuously work with the Maricopa County Public Health and our Medical Advisory Team and at this time, our schools will remain open. While our benchmark data shows an increase, this is a time to remind our community to help limit the spread by wearing a mask and washing hands.
“We will continue to monitor the benchmark data and update our community if there is a change to our instruction model.”
According to a presentation at the Nov. 12 PUSD Governing Board meeting, one of the three key metrics shifted from yellow to red, with COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population going over 100. Percentage positive remained yellow and COVID-19-like illness was green for PUSD.
With Glendale in the red, districts are closing classrooms or considering doing so.
In a Nov. 13 letter to families, Glendale Elementary School District Superintendent Cindy Segotta-Jones noted, “Data shows COVID-19 numbers have increased again in our ZIP codes. The recommended learning scenario for our district is virtual.
“After reviewing the health metrics for Glendale Elementary School District, the governing board approved to close all sites beginning Monday, Nov. 16.”
She said the district “will continue to monitor the weekly metrics to determine a return to in-person learning. Based on the latest metrics, we do not anticipate reopening until after Nov. 30.”
Glendale Union High School District may look at closing classrooms this week.
According to a letter sent to families and posted on the district website, “The public health metrics released today show another increase in COVID-19 cases and percent positivity within our district boundaries. The new increase puts the district in its first week of red.
“As stated in last week’s communication, if a GUHSD school moves into red for one or more categories, the local school administration would prepare for the possibility of the transition from hybrid to remote learning. Now that the district is red for the first week, we will follow the same process for the possible move from hybrid to remote learning for all district schools.”
The district will analyze the school metrics to be updated by the county this week.
“If the numbers for our district are still in the red category Thursday, Nov. 19, the two consecutive week requirement to move from hybrid to remote learning will be met.”
The district noted a possible return to remote learning will not impact schedules: “The only change will be that students will be learning from home five days per week in the remote model.”
Glendale Union High School District was one of the last in the West Valley to reopen classrooms, returning to a “hybrid” schedule Oct. 19.