With the Arizona Department of Health Services measuring a rapid increase in COVID cases across the state, the Glendale Union High School District has re-instituted a mask requirement for students, staff and visitors inside district buildings since school resumed from the holiday break on Tuesday, Jan. 4.
The omicron variant during the past few weeks has increased positive COVID cases. The district noted before winter break, the daily number of new cases in Arizona was approximately 3,000. During the winter break the daily cases rose to 5,000 before increasing to 7,000 to 8,000 cases per day.
“As is the case around the country, Arizona is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases amid the spread of the extraordinarily contagious Omicron variant,” Jessica Rigler of ADHS posted to her public blog Jan. 3. Rigler serves as the state’s first health care associated infections coordinator, and leads the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control. She is currently an assistant director overseeing the Division of Public Health Preparedness. “The COVID-19 cases by day graph on the ADHS COVID-19 Dashboard shows a surge beginning two days after Christmas, with more than 7,000 cases and even 8,000-plus cases on days for which we’d expect to have the majority of results reported.”
In its message to parents and guardians, Glendale Union High School District says the additional mitigation strategy to require masks is both an effort to keep students and staff healthy, but also to maintain in-person learning.
“Wearing masks will help keep our students, staff, and community healthy,” the district noted. “Additionally, wearing masks will help keep our schools open during this surge of COVID cases.”
Additional information regarding the district’s specialty programs and athletics is forthcoming.
Comprised of nine high schools, grades 9-12, the district enrolls 16,800 students while serving most of Glendale and a portion of Phoenix.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have maintained our focus on the health and safety of students and staff and the desire to keep our schools open to in-person learning,” the district further noted. “We did have to transition to remote learning twice during the pandemic, but even then, our goal remained the same, to return to in-person learning as soon as we could do it safely.”
The district adds that it will monitor the COVID cases and the advice of health experts to evaluate the mask requirement on a regular basis. The first review will take place no later than Friday, Jan. 28.
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