Updated Thursday January 21, 2021
For the period ending on January 21, 2021 the guidance is that the COVID Transmission Risk Benchmarks for our immediate area continue to be assessed as being "Substantial" and Painted Desert Montessori Academy continues to operate under our Distance Learning model of instruction, limiting on-site instruction and programs. The report published today showed our highest levels of Cases Per 100k People and the Percent Positivity with all remain well into the "Substantial" assessment range. (see report link below) .
As we all know this is a very fluid situation and we can expect weekly assessments to vary based upon the status of the pandemic in our community. With ALL THREE of the three targeted metrics remaining in the "High Risk" category for this week the trends indicate an even worsening situation at least through the first weeks of the 2021. As a result, Distance Learning will continue until there is a satisfactory return to a lesser risk assessment (2 consecutive weeks of Moderate or Low risk levels in all three metrics). We will continue to monitor the weekly situation and update you as new information becomes available, giving as much notice as we can to any potential change in information.
If we were to experience an outbreak of confirmed COVID cases in our school (students, teachers or staff) our operations might have to change to a return of Distance Learning with very little notice following State requirements and Painted Desert Policy and Procedures.
"The increased cases, percent positivity, and hospitalizations show that COVID-19 is still actively circulating and dangerous. It highlights the need for Arizonans to continue taking important prevention steps they have been following over the past few months: wearing a mask when out in public, staying physically distanced from people who are not in your household, washing your hands frequently, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when sick." (Read More) Cara M. Christ, MD, Director Arizona Department of Health Services
For more information on Maricopa County guidance relating to K-12 schools, what you can do to stay safe, seek testing or other issues please visit their site https://www.maricopa.gov/5493/K-12-Schools-and-Childcare-Facilities#guidance
The Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS) has updater their guidance for schools to consider when looking at the different models (In person, Hybrid or Distance) for instruction. Painted Desert has a plan in place and we are prepared to move between delivery models throughout the 2020–-2021 school year as community spread changes. To see the latest guidance from AZDHS visit their publication "Safely Returning to In-Person Instruction" at https://www.azdhs.gov/documents/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-safely-return-to-in-person-instruction.pdf
Are vaccines coming? Yes but it will be months before we have enough for our community to be receiving their vaccinations and months after that before we have herd immunity. Let's take the not so "difficult" steps NOW to help us all get there!
Also please note Public Health is encouraging anyone 6 months and older to get their flu shot. Join us in spreading the word to our community about where free flu shots are available at https://www.maricopa.gov/1873/Influenza-Flu