Ironwood High School saw a significant increase in COVID-19 cases during the past week, and the school has been declared an outbreak by the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, according to letters sent from the principal to parents.
As a result, Peoria Unified School District staff has implemented changes on the campus to decrease transmission, as recommended by MCDPH, through Nov. 22, in order to keep in-person instruction rather than go to virtual learning.
The changes include requiring students, staff and campus visitors to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. The school also has canceled arts and athletic events that will bring additional crowds to campus.
The county health department has made BinaxNOW tests available and accessible for anyone who is a close contact.
Staff is encouraging social distancing where possible on campus and is continuing to work with the county to identify close contacts of individuals who have tested positive to prevent further spread.
All close contacts of positive cases, except those considered essential workers or those fully vaccinated, are required to stay home from school and quarantine for seven to 10 days from the last exposure, according to the county’s Quarantine Guidance for Household and Close Contacts.
Ironwood High School has had 144 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the school year, Aug. 4
Principal Russell Dunham stated in a letter to parents that with more than 50 positive COVID-19 cases recently, the goal is to curb the spread of the virus in the community.
He asked parents to be diligent in efforts to make this happen.
“We appreciate your support and help with this endeavor,” he stated in a letter. “Our main goal is to provide our students with a safe learning environment and ensure that they learn at high levels. We feel the best way for this to happen is to have our students on campus.”
The district has seen 2,056 cumulative cases on campus since Aug. 4. During that same time, Centennial High School has had 102 cases, Sunrise Mountain 111 cases, and Liberty 179 cases.
The most exposed elementary school has been Lake Pleasant with 103, since Aug. 4. The elementary school has a total of 1,245 students.
Philip Haldiman can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.
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