Maricopa County’s COVID-19

Most of the West Valley was “in the red” on Maricopa County’s COVID-19 map, meaning substantial spread of the virus.

Nearly the entire West Valley “went red” recently—and it had nothing to do with elections.

Maricopa County keeps a color-coded COVID-19 school metrics map, with districts, cities and ZIP codes. Green means little spread of the coronavirus, yellow means moderate spread and red indicates the virus is spreading substantially.

The map is updated Thursdays.

“More school districts and other areas on the map are in red this week due to having one or more benchmarks in substantial spread for two consecutive weeks,” the website noted Nov. 12.

Buckeye, which was yellow the week before, shifted to red. Tolleson, Goodyear and Avondale were in the red Nov. 5 and remained there last week. Litchfield Park and most of Glendale also were in the red.

Just weeks after reopening classrooms, multiple West Valley school districts closed classrooms again last week. 

With many public classrooms in Litchfield Park, Tolleson, Avondale and Goodyear closed, Buckeye public school districts are preparing to close classrooms if trends continue.

Agua Fria Union High School District and Littleton and Litchfield elementary school districts closed classrooms Nov. 9.

According to a letter to Littleton parents, “At (the Nov. 10) board meeting, our governing board voted to remain on full time dynamic distance learning through winter break. This means we will not have in-person learning prior to Jan. 4.

“This decision was made in the best interest of our students, staff and community’s health and safety.”

The Buckeye Elementary School District continues its hybrid schedule allowing for in-classroom learning.

However, the district sent a warning letter to families Nov. 13: “According to health data released yesterday by Maricopa County, the number of cases per 100,000 population is at 155.03. Positivity is at 8.77%, and COVID-like illness remains at 4%. BESD falls within the ‘Red’ classification.”

The letter noted BESD was yellow the previous week. “Our model, for now, will continue to be yellow (hybrid). The county language posted (Nov. 12) stated that we should ‘prepare for virtual learning with onsite support.’ We are currently preparing for that eventual possibility, but (the Nov. 19) metrics will provide us with a clearer picture.”

Similarly, Buckeye Union High School District is preparing to go back to online only, according to a letter Superintendent Rob Roberson sent to families Nov. 13.

“Unfortunately, the number of cases within our district boundary and the level of community spread continues to increase. With (the Nov. 12) posting, our overall risk level was elevated from ‘moderate’ to ‘substantial’ with our recommended learning scenario changing from ‘hybrid with onsite support’ to ‘prepare for virtual with onsite support,’” Roberson wrote.

Though other Buckeye Union High School District classrooms remain open, Youngker High School temporarily closed Nov. 9 due to a lack of teachers.

“At this time, we will continue with our hybrid learning schedule at Buckeye Union and Estrella Foothills,” Roberson wrote. “Youngker High School is in distance learning at this time and will remain so through Nov. 19.  We will continue to monitor the dashboard.  

“If our overall risk level remains at the ‘substantial’ level for a second week in a row with the Nov. 19 benchmark posting, the entire district will shift to distance learning” with classrooms closed. 

Tolleson Union High School District continued to keep classrooms closed. The Tolleson high school district has been in online-only mode the entire fall semester.