Chandler USD reiterates COVID-19 mitigation strategies; community divided on mask usage

Chandler USD's headquarters is in Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler USD's headquarters is in Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Chandler USD's headquarters is in Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Chandler USD governing board met Aug. 12, and district staff during a study session reiterated CUSD's COVID-19 mitigation plan that was set in place at the end of last school year. The plan calls for 3 feet of social distancing and daily updates on the district's COVID-19 dashboard, and it strongly recommends masking for teachers, students and staff following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month.

Masks are not mandated in CUSD in accordance with an Arizona law that restricts local officials from creating a mask mandate. Several school systems—including Phoenix Union High School District and Tucson USD—and universities such as Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University are requiring masks in defiance of state law.

More than two dozen people spoke during public comment at the governing board meeting, either urging the board to implement a mask mandate or urging the board not to change the current mitigation plan that does not mandate masks.

“We strongly urge that in order to control COVID-19 in our schools to please mask up,” board President Barb Mozdzen said. “I know that everybody is tired of it. Everybody wants not to wear masks. But it does help control the spread, and it’s a caring gesture to your neighbors.”

The district's mitigation plan is available online.


The plan also calls for increased mitigation when a school reaches a certain percent positivity threshold. CUSD site data indicates high spread on campuses at these thresholds: 2% active cases for elementary schools,1.5% active cases for junior high schools and 1% active cases for high schools.

As of Aug. 11, Hamilton High School met the 1% active cases threshold. As of Aug. 12, the school was back below 1% with 37 active cases.

CUSD Director of Health Services Lyndsay Hartley told the board it was difficult to "epi-link" cases at school, meaning it is difficult to tie the spread of the virus to the campus as opposed to activities outside of school or at home.

If a school reaches that percent positivity threshold and an active case is reported, any student who was within 3 feet of the confirmed positive person for more than 15 minutes in 24-hour period is quarantined, according to the district. Voluntary proof of full vaccination may shorten quarantine, according to the district. When a school does not have substantial spread and is not meeting that threshold, quarantining is optional.

No action items were on the agenda related to masks or COVID-19 policies, and the board was briefed on the mitigation strategies in place during a study session.


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