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Parents face tough choices for students as COVID-19 cases rise in Arizona classrooms

There are some pockets in Phoenix and the surrounding areas that have run into trouble with the virus.

PHOENIX — For students in Arizona who have been back to the classrooms since the beginning of October, the transition back during COVID-19 has been different, but smooth. 

But there are some pockets in Phoenix and the surrounding areas that have run into trouble with the virus.

Beginning Monday, students at Madison No. 1 Middle School were required to switch back to remote learning after four cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the school. Students are to remote-learn until Nov. 9. All other schools in the Madison School District remain open.

Scottsdale Unified School District is now keeping an eye on the schools located in the zip codes of 85251, 85018 and 85253 - which encompasses most of south Scottsdale.

The schools they are watching include Echo Canyon, Pima, Navajo, Arcadia, Hopi, Ingleside, Tavan, Chaparral, Cherokee and Kiva. 

The zip codes, according to a newsletter sent by the School district, are over the 100 positive cases per 100,000 people benchmark that Gov. Doug Ducey put into place.

If those zip codes reach the same number -- or higher -- cases next week, the district is advising parents and staff members to prepare to return to remote-learning.

“I know for my daughter and her husband, the decision to ‘return-to-learn’ as they are calling it in Scottsdale, was not an easy one,” said Andy Kern, a grandparent who has two grandchildren in the district.

Ultimately, Kern says, the family felt that the children would get a better education in-person versus online. 

This is a situation many families now face in areas where COVID-19 cases are on the rise: Not knowing if children will attend school or remote-learn can be a challenge for many families.

For Kern, it’s not so tough. With his daughter and her husband at work, Kern can help with watching the kids while they complete their schoolwork.

“I think everybody basically made the best of it, but it definitely not the same as being in school,” Kern said of learning online.

The CDC has issued some guidance for parents to follow each morning before sending the kids off to school. 

The center recommends that parents monitor their children for any of the following symptoms on a daily basis before determining if they are healthy enough for school:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Students with any of these symptoms are asked to stay home until the symptoms pass, to avoid the possible spread of infection.