Flood Watch
from FRI 11:00 AM MST until SAT 11:00 PM MST, Yavapai County Mountains, Little Colorado River Valley in Coconino County, Little Colorado River Valley in Navajo County, Little Colorado River Valley in Apache County, Eastern Mogollon Rim, White Mountains, Northern Gila County, Yavapai County Valleys and Basins, Oak Creek and Sycamore Canyons, Western Pima County including Ajo/Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Tohono O'odham Nation including Sells, Upper Santa Cruz River and Altar Valleys including Nogales, Tucson Metro Area including Tucson/Green Valley/Marana/Vail, South Central Pinal County including Eloy/Picacho Peak State Park, Southeast Pinal County including Kearny/Mammoth/Oracle, Upper San Pedro River Valley including Sierra Vista/Benson, Eastern Cochise County below 5000 ft including Douglas/Wilcox, Upper Gila River and Aravaipa Valleys including Clifton/Safford, White Mountains of Graham and Greenlee Counties including Hannagan Meadow, Galiuro and Pinaleno Mountains including Mount Graham, Chiricahua Mountains including Chiricahua National Monument, Dragoon/Mule/Huachuca and Santa Rita Mountains including Bisbee/Canelo Hills/Madera Canyon, Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains including Mount Lemmon/Summerhaven, Baboquivari Mountains including Kitt Peak, Kofa, Central La Paz, Aguila Valley, Southeast Yuma County, Gila River Valley, Northwest Valley, Tonopah Desert, Gila Bend, Buckeye/Avondale, Cave Creek/New River, Deer Valley, Central Phoenix, North Phoenix/Glendale, New River Mesa, Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, Rio Verde/Salt River, East Valley, Fountain Hills/East Mesa, South Mountain/Ahwatukee, Southeast Valley/Queen Creek, Superior, Northwest Pinal County, West Pinal County, Apache Junction/Gold Canyon, Tonto Basin, Mazatzal Mountains, Pinal/Superstition Mountains, Sonoran Desert Natl Monument, San Carlos, Dripping Springs, Globe/Miami, Southeast Gila County

Arizona governor says schools, mass gatherings, events of 50 or more canceled amid COVID-19 spread

Arizona’s governor and school superintendent on Sunday ordered a statewide closure of schools through at least March 27 as authorities rush to contain the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said they’ll work with health officials to decide whether schools should remain closed longer.

Ducey and Hoffman faced growing pressure from parents, and on Sunday the state’s teachers union called for students to stay home. Public health authorities did not recommend school closures, saying there isn’t yet widespread community transmission of the virus in Arizona and keeping them open allows children to maintain routines and nutritional programs. Still, a growing number of districts made their own decisions to close or extend their spring breaks.

Ducey and Hoffman said they worked hard to keep schools open, but many districts are now worried about staffing and potential absences. They urged administrators to continue remote educational opportunities, such as online or printed materials sent home, as much as possible.

“The safest place for children during this time is at home,” they wrote in an open letter. “They should not be cared for by elderly adults or those with underlying health conditions, including grandparents and other family members.”

They said they’re working with nonprofits, religious institutions and others to make childcare options available to those who need them.

The decision affects about 1.1 million students attending Arizona’s K-12 public schools.

Hours before the announcement Sunday, the state’s largest teachers union said it would like to see students stay home from school “until education leaders and state policymakers can present a detailed plan of support that assures students will be returning to safe classrooms and healthy school sites.”

The Arizona Education Association also urged Ducey “to exercise all the powers of his office including convening the legislature in Special Session to swiftly and directly address this unanticipated crisis.”

Meanwhile, public health officials on Sunday said Arizona had another case of the coronavirus, raising the state’s total to 13.

The Pima County Health Department announced its third presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Pima County.

They said the person is an older adult currently recovering in a Tucson-area hospital.

Health department officials said it was the first positive test result in Pima County as a result of commercial testing performed at a private laboratory.

Arizona announced three new cases of the coronavirus Saturday including the first in rural Graham County where a town’s school district had already shut down before test results were available on a school employee who now has tested positive.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends this to be in effect for 8 weeks.

For more coverage on the coronavirus, click here.


Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

Coronavirus: Symptoms, testing and how to prepare amid growing COVID-19 outbreak 

How coronavirus differs from flu: Symptoms to watch for