Dear School Leaders and Stakeholders,
Today, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) released public health benchmarks that provide our school communities much-needed clarity on schools’ safe reopening. The benchmarks align with the three of the learning scenarios outlined in the Roadmap for Reopening Schools to help school leaders, educators, students, and families understand how the metrics should influence school reopening decisions.
The scenarios are:
- Scenario One: All Students in Physical Buildings
- In-person, teacher-led instruction
- Minimal community spread: Evidence of isolated cases or limited community transmission, case investigations underway; no evidence of exposure in large communal settings
- Scenario Two: Some Students in Physical Buildings and Some Students Distance Learning
- Hybrid learning
- Moderate Community Spread: Sustained transmission with high likelihood or confirmed exposure within communal settings and potential for rapid increase in cases
- Scenario Three: All Students Distance Learning with the Option of Returning to Physical Buildings when Appropriate
- Distance learning with onsite support services
- Substantial Community Spread: Large scale, controlled community transmission, including communal settings (e.g., schools, workplaces)
ADHS further defines community spread levels with the thresholds outlined below. These benchmarks and thresholds indicate the which scenario should be in place based on the spread of COVID19.
For example, if a school or charter is in a community with Moderate Percent Positivity and COVID Like Illness, but Substantial cases, they should remain in distance learning. If all three indicators fall in Moderate, then they could consider a hybrid model.
More information is available in the ADHS Benchmarks for Safely Returning to In-Person Instruction guidance, including reading the data within the correct period, responding to COVID19 in schools, and essential “How To” graphics for wearing masks and hand washing.
Disclaimer: The Arizona Department of Education is sharing information about the public health benchmarks on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
While it’s clear that Arizona is not currently ready to resume in-person or hybrid learning, we now have clear goals for knowing when it is safer to return to the classroom. I urge all school leaders to use these benchmarks to make safe decisions about learning this school year.
Thank you again for your partnership during this time.
Kathy Hoffman, MS, CCC-SLP
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Reminder: ADHS Webinar
Tomorrow, ADHS will host a webinar on the public health benchmarks to support understanding of how to read and implement the benchmarks in reopening decisions.
Arizona School Public Health Benchmarks Webinar: Friday, August 7, 2020 (12:00 – 1:30 pm)