Schools COVID-19 Dashboard & Guidance


 NEWS for 12/3 Update:

  • With all COVID-19 community spread benchmarks continuing to trend upward, Public Health urges the community to be vigilant with wearing face coverings, limiting social gatherings with those outside your household, and staying home and away from others when sick. Learn more 
  • Have you gotten your flu shot yet? With COVID-19 and flu circulating at the same time, getting a flu shot this year matters more than ever. Locate a free flu shot clinic near you here
  • Free community COVID-19 testing is still widely available, including nasal swab and saliva-based options. To locate an event, please see our testing page.



THE DASHBOARD


Utilizing the map below, reports can be viewed by Zip Code, City, Unified School District, High School District or Elementary District by selecting from the “View report by” drop-down menu. By clicking on your selected area on the map, a pop-up report will generate a value for that area's overall COVID-19 community transmission risk level and the recommended learning scenario. Learn more about using the dashboard.

Note: Individual schools (public, private, or charter) are viewable on the map, but are not a report category. This is because community transmission risk for schools is best evaluated in the context of the communities they are located in.


This dashboard is updated weekly on Thursdays around 9 a.m.
Dashboard last updated: Dec. 3, 2020
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Report Footnotes

Most recent data for confirmed and probable case rates and PCR test percent positivity* are calculated using area-selected data from 11/15/20-11/21/20. COVID-like illness (CLI) percentage of hospital visits is calculated using county-wide surveillance data for the week of 11/22/2020-11/28/2020. CLI calculations can be found here.

2 Prior week's data for confirmed and probable case rates and PCR test percent positivity* are calculated using area-selected data from 11/8/20-11/14/20. COVID-like illness (CLI) percentage of hospital visits is calculated using county-wide surveillance data for the week of 11/15/20 to 11/21/20. CLI calculations can be found here.

View the calendar of dashboard updates and corresponding data time periods.

**If the area selected has a % positivity noted as “NA” in a gray box, this means there were <10 total tests done in that area during the specified week. In these cases, which might change from week to week, the % positivity metric will not be used in determining the overall community spread in that area (i.e., whether it appears as Red, Yellow, or Green).

Additional notes:

  • Geographic regions with smaller populations will have case rates that vary more widely due to the small population denominator.
  • The metrics for areas that cross county lines only include case, test, and population data for Maricopa County residents. These data are representative of the case rate and % positivity for the portion of the area that is in Maricopa County and are not representative of the case rate and % positivity for the entire geographic area.

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USING THE DASHBOARD

This Dashboard can be used as a guide to help decision-makers better understand the overall level of COVID-19 community spread occurring around their school area, and what type of learning environment (virtual w/onsite support, hybrid, or traditional) is recommended based on that risk level. A school’s mitigation plan for how it will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students, staff, and teachers is also an important factor in determining a schools’ safe reopening and will help them stay open.

As schools meet the initial benchmarks for re-opening, decision-makers should continue to monitor their area community spread data for any trends that may result in a change in their recommended learning scenario. See our guidance on When to Consider Transitioning Back to Virtual Learning.

Selecting the View Area

We know that schools may serve families who do not live within the district boundaries and that staff may come from all over the county. This dashboard allows you to review data by ZIP code, city/town, or school district to determine the best reopening option for your school or district. When selecting the view area, choose the option that best represents the area in which the majority of students and staff live. For example:

  • A school that serves mostly students residing in their city or town could use city-level data.
  • A district for which the majority of students reside within the district could use district-level data.
  • A school that draws students from an area broader than district boundaries could use a set of regional zip codes to define their region and average the case rates per 100,000 population and test percent positivity.
  • A school that draws students from across the valley could use county-level data.

About the Data

To ensure completeness and accuracy of data, case rates and PCR test percent positivity are calculated using area-selected data covering the two-week period ending 12 days prior to day of Dashboard update. The COVID-like illness (CLI) percentage of hospital visits are calculated using the most-up-to-date county-wide surveillance data from the previous two weeks, providing a more "real-time" snapshot of emergency department and inpatient hospitalization activity related to COVID-19. NOTE: Effective 11/12/20, MCDPH updated its CLI definition to align with ADHS after a recent version update to the definition by CDC. Changes to CLI calculations have been applied retroactively and are reflected in the weekly CLI link.  

Calendar of Dashboard Updates

This Dashboard published on Aug. 14, 2020, and is updated weekly. View the table of dashboard updates and corresponding 2-week data calendar ranges here.

Find Historical Data for Your Area

You can view historical community spread data by area (city, zip, school district) for case rates and percent positivity dating back to week 5/31-6/6 here. Countywide historical COVID-like illness (CLI) percentage of hospital visits can be found here.


BENCHMARKS & LEARNING SCENARIOS

Each week, the Dashboard will provide an area's recommended learning scenario based on its COVID-19 community spread data over two consecutive weeks. The data used to generate reports are based upon the benchmarks and thresholds for re-opening established by the Arizona Department of Health Services. Once re-opened, school areas should review benchmark guidance for When to Consider Transitioning Back to Virtual Learning.

Community Spread Benchmarks Opens in new window

Defining the Benchmarks

Case rates

This is the number of people infected with COVID-19 per 100,000 people in a select area. MCDPH recommends using case rates to evaluate spread of disease in your area because a case rate will more accurately reflect what is happening in your community by accounting for population size. 

Percent positivity

This is the percentage of PCR diagnostic tests confirmed positive out of all tests performed in a select area. A higher % test positivity can indicate that there is more disease spreading within the community, or it can mean that there is not enough available testing in the area.

COVID-like illness percentage of hospital visits

This information comes from a surveillance system that monitors the percent of people who visit emergency rooms and hospitals with symptoms of COVID-19. This is the first signal that a decrease or increase in community spread of COVID-19 is occurring. The COVID-like illness data available on a county-wide basis only. 

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COVID-19 Continuum of School Learning Scenarios

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Recommendations for Resuming In-Person Learning

MCDPH recommends the following benchmark thresholds be met prior to offering any in-person learning:

  • Cases: Two consecutive weeks with new case rates below 100 per 100,000 people1 
  • PCR Test percent positivity: Two consecutive weeks with 10or lower positivity
  • COVID-like Illness percentage of hospital visits: Two consecutive weeks with percent of hospital visits showing symptoms of COVID-like illness below 10%

1ADHS has determined that a decline in weekly average cases for two consecutive weeks (not including the current week) will also meet the case metric for the initial return to a hybrid in-person/distance learning model. Maricopa County confirmed and probable case count data by week can be viewed here.

Recommendations for When to Consider Returning to Virtual Learning


Once an area (zip, city, school district) meets reopening community spread benchmarks for in-person instruction, future pop-up reports are then calculated to help you monitor your area's community spread and any impacts on your learning scenario. As the COVID-19 outbreak is still ongoing, MCDPH recommends decision-makers view their area data weekly to stay updated on community spread metrics. If community spread in the defined area begins to increase to a higher level, schools should proactively begin discussions about a potential need to return to a more physically-distanced learning scenario, specifically:

  • If a school district or other defined school area (e.g., charters) has one or more benchmarks in the Substantial category for two or more weeks, schools should consult with Maricopa County Department of Public Health* to determine whether to prepare to transition back to virtual learning with onsite support services.
  • If a school district or other defined school area (e.g., charters) has ALL three benchmarks in the Substantial category, Public Health recommends schools transition to virtual learning with onsite support services in consultation with Maricopa County Department of Public Health*.

*To contact Public Health for guidance about when to prepare for a return to virtual learning, please go here



Reading the Map Report Tip:  Any changes to an area's benchmark metrics will be reflected in weekly pop-up reports, including a move to a higher level of spread (e.g., a benchmark moving from Moderate to Substantial). However, there will be no change in that area's community spread color on the map (e.g., moving from Yellow to Red) or that area's recommended learning scenario until two full weeks of consecutive data show a sustained increase in community spread resulting in a higher risk level. If an area's second week of data reverts back to the lower level of community spread, no changes will be recommended on the pop-up report.


We also encourage school decision-makers to stay updated on the county's latest COVID-19 data and school-related guidance. MCDPH can provide local guidance in interpreting the benchmark data and in identifying mitigation strategies that schools may implement to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff. Additional guidance for re-opening can also be found in the Arizona Department of Education’s Roadmap for Reopening Schools.


Guidance to schools about COVID-19 will likely evolve as our understanding of the virus grows and more scientific evidence becomes available. If you have questions, email us.


SCHOOL WAIVERS

EO 2020-51 requires schools to provide on-site support services so that students who need a place to go or who have specific needs are well-supported, which allows schools to offer successful distance learning for all students. A waiver is only required and permitted if all on-site services will cease due to an outbreak.

MCDPH has determined that in order to be eligible to receive Public Health support for a waiver from the Arizona Department of Education, a school district must have a weekly COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 population that is more than twice the rate of Maricopa County for two consecutive weeks. Public Health has provided the school district area case rates needed for waiver eligibility  (two consecutive weeks of data)  in the red outlined boxes below. Visit the ADE website for more information about the waiver request process.

Maricopa County Case Rates Per 100,000 People

Most Recent Week's Rate Benchmark: Dates 11/15/20 - 11/21/20
379 cases per 100,000 Maricopa County residents per week
Most-recent-weeks-benchmarks-case-rates-11-15


Cases per 100k people needed for waiver eligibility: >758 cases/100k

 
Prior Week's Rate Benchmark: Dates 11/8/20 - 11/14/20
261 cases per 100,000 Maricopa County residents per week
Prior-weeks-benchmarks-case-rates-11-8


Cases per 100k needed for waiver eligibility: >522 cases/100k


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Frequently Asked Questions

The Arizona Department of Health Services developed the benchmark thresholds at the request of the education community as a guide to help school districts determine when it is safe to return to in-person instruction. The experiences of other countries have indicated that reopening schools may be lower risk in communities with lower community transmission.

The health, safety, and well-being of students, teachers, staff, and their families are the most important considerations in determining when schools can open for in-person learning



The Maricopa County dashboard was created to provide schools and families a user-friendly way to interpret benchmark re-opening data that would help them identify which learning scenario model (traditional, hybrid, or virtual with onsite support) would be recommended based on their community’s overall level of transmission.

The Arizona Department of Health Services school dashboard provides county-level data for all three benchmark metrics. For schools that draw students from across Maricopa County, using the state dashboard for county-level data may be sufficient.

Given the physical size of our county and its varied population densities, it’s important for schools to be able to view the level of transmission occurring in the geographic areas they serve. We have provided data that can be viewed by ZIP code, city, and school district level to give decision-makers multiple options in sorting data that best represent the area in which the majority of students live. Case rate and test percent positivity data are calculated for the geographic area selected (zip code, city, or school district). COVID-like illness is calculated using countywide syndromic surveillance data.



Test percent positivity is the percentage of people who test positive for COVID-19 (by a PCR test) out of all people in the community who have been tested during the same time period. For the purposes of the school dashboard, a “community” is defined by the selected area (ZIP code, city or school district) being viewed on the map. Two separate weeks of data for that area are provided to help provide a directional trend of a community’s overall transmission level.

  • A decreasing percentage of positive tests indicates enough testing is available in the community and that that transmission of the virus is slowing in that area.
  • An increasing percent positivity suggests higher transmission of disease is occurring in the community or that there is less testing available in that area and people with symptoms are more likely to be tested.

If people with symptoms are more likely to be tested, there are likely more people with COVID-19 in the community who haven’t been tested. This may mean more cases are going undetected, including those who don’t have symptoms and may be spreading the virus without knowing they’re infected.



If the area selected has a % positivity noted as “NA” in a gray box, this means there were fewer than 10 total tests done in that area during the specified week. In these cases, which might change from week to week, the % positivity metric will not be used in determining the overall community spread in that area (i.e., whether it appears as Red, Yellow, or Green).



In order for schools to initiate any type of in-person learning, there are two questions to consider:

  • When can we safely reopen schools for in-person learning?
  • If we can reopen schools for in-person learning, how do we do that safely?

The community spread benchmark thresholds are recommendations for school decision-makers to use as a guide in deciding when it may be safe to initiate a move to in-person learning. The quality of a school's mitigation plan, which identifies how it will protect the health of students, staff, and teachers upon re-opening, is a critical part in determining its readiness. Strategies schools may consider to reduce the risk of transmission among students and staff are shared in the Arizona Department of Education’s Roadmap for Reopening Schools guidance. These include things such as modifying classroom layouts to promote physical distancing, encouraging behaviors that reduce spread such as hand hygiene and use of facial coverings, and maintaining healthy environments through enhanced cleaning and proper ventilation.

Schools are required to share their mitigation plans on their website prior to offering on-site support services and/or in-person instruction. If schools have questions about their mitigation plans, decision-makers can reach out to Public Health for guidance.



A hybrid model is a combined instructional approach of having some students partake in in-person learning, while some students engage in virtual learning. This might involve students being on campus on certain days of the week. On other days, they would learn at-home with online components. There are various ways this learning model can be implemented and will vary based on the unique needs of each school community and the students they serve.

Remember, the type of learning scenario recommended for a selected area is based on the area’s overall risk level of community spread. However, this does not mean a school has to choose that recommended scenario. It is up to school district decision-makers to determine the delivery model of instruction that best meet the needs of the students and families they serve. More information about this process can be found in the Arizona Department of Education’s Roadmap for Reopening Schools guidance.



Similar to determining when to reopen schools for in-person learning, the decision of when to quarantine a group of students or a classroom, or when close a portion or all of the school should be made in close coordination with Public Health. This may take into account a number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • the level of community transmission
  • whether cases have been identified among students and staff
  • if cases are identified, how many classrooms are affected
  • percent absenteeism in the school
  • student population being affected (i.e., age of students, classrooms affected, etc.)
  • the model of instruction delivery and mitigation plans in place
  • the importance of in-person education to the social, emotional, and academic growth and well-being of the student population

If community spread in the defined area begins to increase to a higher level, schools should consult with Maricopa County Department of Public Health to begin discussions about a potential need to return to a more physically-distanced learning scenario, specifically:

  • If a school district or other defined school area (e.g., charters) has one or more benchmarks in the Substantial category for two or more weeks, schools should consult with Maricopa County Department of Public Health* to determine whether to prepare to transition back to virtual learning with onsite support services.
  • If a school district or other defined school area (e.g., charters) has ALL three benchmarks in the Substantial category, Public Health recommends schools transition to virtual learning with onsite support services in consultation with Maricopa County Department of Public Health*.

*To contact Public Health for guidance about when to prepare for a return to virtual learning, school officials can go here. Parents can contact Public Health here.



Any changes to an area's benchmark metrics will be reflected in weekly pop-up reports, including a move to a higher level of spread (e.g., a benchmark moving from Moderate to Substantial). However, there will be no change in that area's community spread color on the map (e.g., moving from Yellow to Red) or that area's recommended learning scenario until two full weeks of consecutive data show a sustained increase in community spread resulting in a higher risk level. If an area's second week of data reverts back to the lower level of community spread, no changes will be recommended on the pop-up report.



You can view historical community spread data by area (city, zip, school district) for case rates and percent positivity dating back to week 5/31-6/6 here. Countywide historical COVID-like illness (CLI) percentage of hospital visits can be found here.


For additional school-related FAQs, click here.

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Planning and Guidance Resources

Additional school guidance for prevention and mitigation of COVID-19 and reporting outbreaks, can be found here.



Contact Us

Still have questions?

Send us a message.

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