Sun, Feb. 28

Verde Valley schools stay open despite coronavirus concerns

See updated story: School closures announced throughout Verde Valley

Original headline:

Verde Valley schools stay open despite coronavirus concern

Friday, superintendents from the Verde Valley’s seven school districts agreed to keep their schools open despite concerns of the coronavirus.

“As of right now there are no identified cases (of COVID-19) in Yavapai County,” the superintendents stated in a March 13 news release. “In an abundance of caution, our administrative teams are developing contingency plans for educational services in the event we need to close schools in the future.”

The statement was signed by Karin Ward of Beaver Creek, Danny Howe of Camp Verde, Danny Brown of Clarkdale-Jerome, Steve King of Cottonwood-Oak, Mike Westcott of Mingus Union, Dennis Dearden of Sedona-Oak Creek and Bob Weir of Valley Academy of Career and Technology Education.

Thursday, the area superintendents participated in a conference call with other school district superintendents from around the state, as well as Gov. Doug Ducey, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman and Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Director Dr. Cara Christ.

According to the news release, Currently, Arizona Department of Health Services “is not recommending school closures or the cancellation of after school activities.”

“Any future decisions of school closures will be made in consultation with each other and with local health officials as we continue to work closely with Yavapai County Health Department,” the superintendents stated. “If we are alerted that any type of community spread of COVID-19 is occurring in Yavapai County, we will immediately follow all protocols set forth by the Yavapai County Health Department.”

Maintenance crews at each of the area’s school districts “provided a deep cleaning of all Verde Valley schools during spring break,” the superintendents stated.

“When we return to school on Monday, we will continue to provide daily disinfecting of classrooms and all high traffic areas and will encourage and educate students to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer that is readily available at all sites,” the superintendents stated.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @AZShutterbug42

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