"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.
Since students returned to campuses, the district has been releasing data pertaining to each school when a confirmed case of COVID-19 arises. This week, the district updated its dashboard to include more context. The dashboard now shows the total number of employees and student enrollment at a school site, the total confirmed active cases for that site, the percentage of active cases for that site and the number of resolved cases.
In her letter to families, Casteel urged parents and children to continue to heed the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—wearing masks, social distancing and hand-washing—both at school and at home. Casteel also asked that parents keep their child home if they are exhibiting any symptoms.
"We remain committed to providing a quality educational experience for all CUSD students, but we cannot do this alone," Casteel said. "I respectfully request your help to keep our schools open and safe."
Here is what COVID-19 cases look like at campuses across the district: