Public information lacking as COVID-19 surges in Arizona classrooms

Corona del Sol High School math teacher Dan Ray instructs a group of juniors and seniors in pre-calculus on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Photo by Brandon Quester | AZCIR

By by Maria Polletta and  Shaena Montanari | Cronkite News

infections surge in Arizona schools, sickening thousands of students and staff and forcing thousands more into quarantine, parents—and the public at large—have been left without a comprehensive picture of where Arizona students and educators are contracting the virus. 

A patchwork of outbreak and quarantine notifications from school districts has sown confusion among families about the scope of on-campus exposure. And while districts report infection data to county health officials, who in turn submit it to the state, that information is seldom relayed back to the public in an accessible, thorough way, an AZCIR analysis has found.

Just 30% of Arizona’s 215 traditional school districts provide public-facing dashboards that track outbreaks by school, according to AZCIR’s review of their websites. Of the state’s 15 county health departments, only Pima County publicly monitors active COVID-19 cases by district. 

The state, meanwhile, does not specifically show where school- and day care-based outbreaks are occurring. It offers only county-level totals and a running tally of infections among Arizonans 19 and under.

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