The update comes as coronavirus cases have continued to rise across Arizona and Maricopa County, with the district reporting 12 active COVID-19 cases across its campuses. The district also reported as of Nov. 30 more than 180 "resolved" cases; the district considers a case resolved when an individual returns to school.
There are 69 active outbreaks in Maricopa County schools, according to data from the Maricopa County Public Health Department. The county considers a school to have an outbreak if there are more than two students or staff who could have been close contacts with a person who has tested positive for the virus.
On Nov. 6, Superintendent Camille Casteel sent an email out to Chandler USD parents, urging them to exercise caution so schools may remain open.
"Although our individual school data is positive overall, we cannot let our guard down as the trends change quickly and exponentially," Casteel wrote in the email. "Students and parents understand and are committed to comply with the mitigation strategies. There are exceptions where individuals have overlooked mitigation strategies thereby placing at risk the health of students, staff and community members as well as continued in-person learning. Students have been sent to school with symptoms or while awaiting test results. Students have attended gatherings outside of school, contracted the virus, and then returned to school exposing their classmates. These situations are avoidable. The pandemic has presented us with so many factors outside of our control. We need 100% cooperation to influence what we can control. As pandemic fatigue sets in, I ask you to join us in a renewed commitment to adhere to mitigation strategies as we enter the next few months of high risk."
Chandler USD students went back to brick-and-mortar schools beginning in mid-September with students in kindergarten through sixth grade heading back first. Secondary students returned to campuses Oct. 13. District officials said there are still more than 9,000 parents who opted for their children to continue with online learning.
The Chandler USD governing board met earlier this month to discuss what to do in the event coronavirus spread within the district reaches a substantial level. No votes were cast, but district staff recommended handling outbreaks on a school-by-school basis and only closing schools if the percentage of cases on that campus reaches a certain threshold.
Here is what COVID-19 cases look like at campuses across the district: