The guidance focuses on three metrics: cases per 100,000 people, the percentage of positivity in testing and hospital visits due to COVID-19-like illnesses. Each relies on two weeks of data to determine if a trend meets the criteria.
As of Sept. 3, Maricopa County is reaching all three benchmarks for reopening.
To help schools and families track progress toward those benchmarks, ADHS posts weekly updates that indicate whether counties meet the recommended benchmarks for the initial reopening of in-person learning in schools.
“While it is clear that Arizona is not currently ready to resume traditional in-person or hybrid learning, we now have clear goals for knowing when it is safer to return to the classroom amid COVID-19,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said in a release.
For the initial reopening of a model blending in-person instruction and online instruction, the state recommends the three metrics show evidence of minimal community spread: a two-week decline in weekly average cases or two weeks below 100 cases per 100,000 population, two weeks with positivity below 7% and two weeks with less than 10% of hospital visits due to COVID-19-like illness.
“Our focus is ensuring that Arizona students and teachers have a safe and successful academic year, even though it may look different because of the ongoing pandemic,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in the release. “We know the critical services that in-person instruction provides for our children. These benchmarks use public health data guided by recommendations from county, state, and federal experts to inform our schools on implementing a safe return to the classroom."