State health department outlines COVID-19 benchmarks for returning to the classroom

State health department outlines COVID-19 benchmarks for returning to the classroom
The Arizona Department of Health Services released a report outlining how schools should safely resume in-person instruction Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (Source: WIS)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With the fall school year quickly approaching, the Arizona Department of Health Services released guidelines for safely returning to in-person classes, officials say.

State health officials gave educators three benchmarks to watch, with each taking into consideration the prevalence of COVID-19 in their communities. The state health department recommends schools operate while in the “minimal” or “moderate” stages, which means cases should not surpass a 10-percent positivity rate.

The benchmarks help outline clear metrics for educators to take into account when they decide to resume in-person classes. Right now, schools will be required to begin distanced learning but will resume in-person instruction at the county’s discretion.

While extensive, the information released from the state health department is for guidance only and isn’t mandatory.

For initial reopening, the state health department recommends schools follow these three county-specific metrics:

- A two-week decline in weekly average cases OR two weeks below 100 cases per 100,000 population

- Two weeks with positivity below 7 percent

- Two weeks with less than 10 percent of hospital visits due to COVID-like

For more information on the department’s reopening recommendations read the report below or click here:

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