More than 600 Scottsdale Unified students in quarantine due to COVID-19, district officials say

Scottsdale Unified School District officials say hundreds of its students are being impacted by COVID-19, a week after classes resumed.

In a statement, Scottsdale Unified officials say since the start of in-person classes, they have 78 on-campus, confirmed cases of COVID-19, as well as 31 confirmed cases among students who did not come to school.

In addition, officials say 150 symptomatic students have been sent home, and 632 students have been quarantined as close contacts.

Officials: Virtual learning could return

In the statement, school district officials say mask use has varied by campus.

"In some places, there were almost no masks on the first day of school and in others, as many as 70-80% chose to wear them," read a portion of the statement.

Officials also say while they understand the question of masks has been "politicized and is polarizing for our community," they also say the trend they are seeing with COVID-19 will not only require them to quarantine more students, but to also return to virtual learning.

District officials also noted that some of their neighboring districts have already doing such things, without naming which districts are doing it.

I understand COVID fatigue. I personally do not like wearing a mask any more than you or your students do, but in order to slow the transmission of COVID on our campuses, I am again calling on our staff, students, and you, our families, to partner with us by voluntarily agreeing to mask up while indoors on our campuses," wrote School District Superintendent Scott A. Menzel.

'There's no learning plan for these children'

Parent Amanda Wray says the number of students now quarantining is unacceptable.

"Quarantine is meant for sick children or sick individuals, not healthy children and so 600 of our students have been sent home just for having been in close proximity to somebody who has tested positive," she says.

Wray and parent Kendra Kay both say this isn't just about their kids, but the entire student body.

"There's no learning plan for these children, other than you have a list of assignments on a Google Classroom and that's what's really frustrating. The district had plenty of time to prepare for this and they waited until after school started to announce their mitigation strategy," Wray says.

Kay agrees, saying, "I am not in agreement with how the district has handled themselves or their policies. I don't think we're doing enough for the kids and somebody needs to stand up for the kids and we can't allow them to miss out on an education. It's their right to receive a public education"

Tutoring is being offered for those absent from the classroom and on top of that, teachers will have Google Classroom up and assignments posted.

But, 6th and 7th grade teacher Christen Anderson says she worries it's not enough.

"No, I don't think I would be ready at all if they told me I had to be online again and we were all going online. I don't think I would be ready at all. Am I ready technically? Sure, I could go back and do exactly what I did last year, but it's not effective, and it was very challenging," Anderson said.

Arizona seeing new surge in COVID-19 cases

The announcement by Scottsdale Unified came on a day when Arizona reported over 3,000 new cases for the first time in six months. The state’s coronavirus dashboard reported 3,225 additional cases and 23 more deaths, increasing the state’s pandemic totals to 958,992 cases and 18,435 deaths.

The state last reported at least that many additional cases on Feb. 9 when it reported 4,381 cases.

The state’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases rose over the past two weeks from 1,507 on July 28 to 2,547 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.

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COVID-19 resources

CDC Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 (In Spanish/En Español)

AZDHS Website for COVID-19 Vaccination (In Spanish/En Español)