IN DEVELOPMENT … The story will be updated as new information can be verified. Updated 4 times
PHOENIX – Higher than normal student absenteeism rates were reported in the Phoenix metro area on Wednesday, where many school districts resumed classes even as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increased in Arizona.
Officials from the Cartwright Elementary School District which oversees 21 K-8 schools with nearly 15,000 children in greater Phoenix said they recorded 3,051 absent students on Monday, 2,319 Tuesday and 2,256 Wednesday.
That compares to about 1,600 absences on the first day of fall and the last day of school in December, said Veronica Sanchez, district public relations manager. She said teacher absences were also on the rise, but did not have exact numbers.
The district enforces the use of masks and provides rapid COVID-19 testing in a centralized location.
Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday took what he called “preventative action” to keep public schools open and give students access to in-person education despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona and the rest of the world. all the countries. The new program would give private school vouchers to parents of students whose schools are closing or moving to distance learning.
Arizona’s COVID-19 hospitalizations rose Wednesday for the fourth day in a row, and the state’s seven-day moving averages for virus cases and deaths both increased in the previous two weeks.
As of Tuesday, there were 2,555 COVID-19 patients occupying inpatient beds statewide, up from 2,283 on Saturday, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.
Wednesday’s dashboard showed 61 additional deaths from COVID-19 and an additional 7,749 confirmed cases, bringing the state’s pandemic total to 24,570 deaths and 1,419,562 cases.
The state’s moving average of daily deaths fell from 71.3 on December 20 to 75.3 on Monday, while the moving average of daily new cases more than doubled from 2,947 to 7,017.1 during from the same period, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Arizona has the fourth highest COVID-19 death rate among U.S. states, with 334 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Other virus-related developments:
– The Havasupai tribe in northern Arizona have said they will block tourists from visiting their reserve deep in a gorge off the Grand Canyon until at least June now due to the pandemic. The reserve is famous for its blue-green waterfalls which attract tourists from all over the world. It has been closed to visitors since March 2020.
– Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy announced on Twitter Wednesday morning that he had tested positive for COVID-19. The Arizona Daily Sun reported that in light of the announcement, Deasy’s presence at Tuesday night’s city council meeting drew rebuffs from other council members. âThere was no reason for me to believe that yesterday I was positive,â Deasy said. âI had a home test which turned out negative before entering the council (chambers). I do tests a few times a week to make sure, and I was asymptomatic. So I’m pretty confused as to why there would be people who would think I was knowingly positive. This is quite ridiculous.