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Pima County schools return from winter break as COVID cases rise

Tucson Unified School District classroom
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 20:33:15-05

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN) — Thousands of K-12 students in Pima County returned to the classroom, Monday. It was an eventful winter break, with COVID-19 cases rising and local leadership adopting new policies to limit spread of the Omicron variant.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey tweeted that schools will continue in-person learning.

"Given the rapidly changing landscape of life, not just in education, but in general, we're always monitoring, managing and adjusting," said Sahuarita Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Manuel Valenzuela.

On December 21, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a new indoor mask requirement. Districts, like Sahuarita Unified, are now encouraging students and staff to take that precaution.

"We're not, at this point, putting our focus on enforcement or sending kids or staff home who don't want or choose to wear a mask. We're more about communicating and educating the value of doing that," said Valenzuela.

Valenzuela has also shared opportunities for vaccination with the communities in his district. On Monday, the FDA approved Pfizer's booster shot for kids ages 12 and up.

"We worked, and will continue to work, closely with the county health department to support communication, recommendation and providing convenient access here in our local area, our facilities and our schools," said Valenzuela.

The Pima County Health Department reminded parents that new variants of COVID are more contagious for children. Health experts encourage testing your child if they have been exposed or have symptoms.

"If people have information that is factual and accurate, it empowers them to respond and make decisions that they need to make within their own families. We can really make this a true team effort," said Valenzuela.

To view back-to-school guidance from the Pima County Health Department, click here.