Most Higley USD positive cases not following district’s COVID-19 policies

Higley USD
More than 70% of students and staff in Higley USD who come down with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are ignorning the district's policies and procedures and coming to school anyway. (Courtesy Higley USD)

More than 70% of students and staff in Higley USD who come down with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are ignorning the district's policies and procedures and coming to school anyway. (Courtesy Higley USD)

Clarification: Higley USD staff and students who did not follow COVID-19 procedures did so only by coming to school after showing symptoms.

More than 70% of Higley USD students and staff who have been confirmed as positive cases of COVID-19 have not followed the district’s policies and procedures established to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus.

That statistic, gleaned from the district's followups to each positive case, is part of an educational video the district has produced to educate community members on its COVID-19 dashboard and how the district treats cases. The video was shown to the governing board at its Dec. 9 school board meeting.

According to that presentation, of the 37 staff cases, 72% did not follow the district’s policy and procedures, namely coming to school when they had symptoms. For the 121 cases from students, 74% did not follow the policies and procedures.

Those statistics caught the eyes of governing board members, who continued to plead with the public to stay home when sick and follow mitigation strategies like wearing a mask and frequently washing hands.


“We created a COVID policy to try to protect our students and our staff,” Vice President Kristina Reese said. “I know our staff definitely feels obligated. They want to come to work, but when they’re sick, they’re sick. They need to stay home.”

The district also noted in the video that contract tracing shows most positive cases on campus come not from exposure on campus but from outside activities such as parties and sleepovers.

Associate Superintendent Dawn Foley said the district will continue to update its dashboard during the upcoming winter break.

Other business

  • Interim Chief Financial Officer Jeff Gadd presented a first revision to the projected fiscal year 2021-22 budget. The revision chiefly accounted for a lower average daily membership, or ADM—roughly enrollment—in the district this year. ADM is a key number in figuring state funding. Gadd also noted that districts are getting about half of what they expected in enrollment stabilization grants from the state because the funding ran out. The funding was meant to ensure districts got at least 98% of their funding from the previous fiscal year.

  • Winter sports cannot begin play before Jan. 5 and will do so without spectators until the county’s COVID-19 numbers are contained. That decision comes the Arizona Interscholastic Association, high school sports’ chief governing body in the state, and not from the district. Additionally, players who participate in club sports must quarantine for 14 days before joining their school teams.

  • Revisions have been made to the district’s athletics handbook, including for the first time a code of conduct for coaches.

  • The board unanimously approved course guides for middle schools, high schools and the Higley Virtual Academy.

  • The district recognized board members Scott Glover and Greg Wojtovich at their last board meeting, though Wojtovich was absent. Glover withdrew from the election after qualifying for the ballot, and Wojtovich was defeated in the election. New members Michelle Anderson and Tiffany Shultz will be sworn in at the next board meeting in January. President Amy Kaylor praised the two outgoing members, Glover for his passion in representing teachers and staff and Wojtovich for always challenging the board to be its best.

By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.



MOST RECENT

Surf City Sandwich, Pork Belly Banh Mi
Surf City Sandwich owner combines passions of surfing, cooking

Paul Figliomeni said he has two passions in life: cooking and surfing

Now open
Three new places for medical care in Gilbert

Here are three new places for medical care in Gilbert

Cactus Yards, kickball
National organization recognizes Cactus Yards as nation’s top facility

The United States Specialty Sports Association named Cactus Yards its National Complex of the Year at the 2021 USSSA National Convention in Orlando

Gilbert mural
Gilbert looking to fill new Community Engagement Task Force positions

The Community Engagement Task Force will provide a forum where matters of social welfare and community concern may be presented, discussed, and collaborated upon to address concerns within the town of Gilbert 

By the Bucket is preparing for a soft opening that it is seeking to have Dec. 1. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
By the Bucket heading toward soft opening in Gilbert; Atomic Comics reborn at SanTan Village in Gilbert and more top Phoenix-area news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Phoenix area.

Make a Movie class
Six Pixels Studios East Valley/Phoenix owner's love of film blossoms into new career path

Six Pixels offers classes from filmmaking, stop motion, photography, YouTube and more

Gila River Hotels & Casinos plans to open Santan Mountain Casino in the next 18-24 months, company officials said. Future plans for the area include a hotel. (Rendering courtesy Gila River Hotels & Casinos)
New casino coming to Gilbert area; Duck Donuts marks 2 years in Chandler and more top area business news

Read the top business news from the past week from the Gilbert and Chandler areas.

Krista Cox
Gilbert Public Schools governing board approves course description books, fees

Krista Cox, GPS secondary school curriculum, instruction and assessment director, summarized the changes for the board as being done to improve the user friendliness of the book through its structure and format

Gavel, law books
Gilbert moves to dismiss lawsuit asking courts to throw out bond election results

The town of Gilbert asked Maricopa County Superior Court on Nov. 29 to dismiss a lawsuit that challenged the town’s $515 million streets, transportation and infrastructure bond election.

By the Bucket exterior
By the Bucket heading toward soft opening Dec. 1

The Italian restaurant serves hot spaghetti to go in a bucket and meatball sandwiches.

Atomic Comics
Atomic Comics reborn at SanTan Village in Gilbert

It marks the return of a popular comic book store chain in the Phoenix area that opened in 1988 but closed its four stores in 2011 in bankruptcy

Western Canal
Town narrows Western Canal pipeline solutions to 4

Some residents said after the Nov. 15 meeting they believe the town will just decide to use its original preferred solution of using eminent domain to claim the town’s easements on their property,