Update from Superintendent Jaeger
Jan. 4, 2021
Dear Amphitheater Family:
Pima County Health officials have informed us that COVID-19 conditions in the county are expected to worsen over the next few weeks. It is expected that disease metrics will grow well beyond their current levels, which are already more than double what they were before our Winter Break began.
From the beginning of this pandemic, we have remained committed to ensuring that our decisions would be primarily based upon the safety and well-being of students and staff. We have also been committed to ensuring that all members of the District community have two weeks’ notice of any change in our learning plan to allow those affected to make appropriate plans.
With both of these considerations in mind, I must announce today that we will not be able to return to hybrid learning on January 19 as hoped. While our ultimate goal is to return to the restoration of normal instruction as soon as possible, I must acknowledge that current data and projections compel an extension of remote learning until Feb. 1, when we hope our community’s health circumstances have improved.
Some specifics on the data:
- The State of Arizona’s infection rate is 648 cases per 100,000 in population. In Pima County, that number is even worse (756 cases per 100,000). Unfortunately, health officials anticipate that this number will rise. When we made the decision to return to remote for the New Year, the rate was about 350 cases per 100,000, nearly half the number of cases the county reports now.
- In Pima County, the rate of individuals testing positive for the virus is 18.9 percent, the highest rate ever. This exceeds the statewide number of 17.5 percent (a slight decline from the prior week). For reference, a rate of 10 percent or more is considered to be of significant concern.
- The one data bright spot is that our hospitalization rate of individuals with COVID-like symptoms has declined a bit in the last week -- now at 13.2 percent, down from 14.3 percent. Still, anything over 10 percent is considered to be a significant concern.
We will continue to work with the Pima County Health Department to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will make the decision to reopen in-person learning when it is safe to do so. Whenever possible, we will continue to provide our families and employees with two weeks’ notice of any change in instructional mode. We know that is important.
In the meantime, and as long as it’s necessary, it is our deepest hope each member of our community will do their part so that we can reopen schools safely and provide our students with the support and education they deserve.
Please protect yourself and protect others: Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart from others, wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and stay home if you are sick.
Todd A. Jaeger, J.D.