Pinal County health dept. closes high school after finding “cluster” of COVID-19 cases


SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) –The Pinal County Public Health Department has mandated the closure of San Tan Foothills High School after “a cluster” of COVID-19 cases were identified at the school.

Pinal County orders one school to temporarily close after “a cluster” of COVID-19 cases

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According to a statement from the department, the new cases and potential exposures were discovered on Friday, Oct. 9.

“Since then, Public Health Department staff have been working closely with the school and the Florence Unified School District to evaluate the extent of the potential spread,” the statement explains. “After careful consideration, Pinal County Public Health has deemed the school’s onsite closure to begin contact tracing and quarantine as the most critical public health interventions to control an outbreak.”

San Tan Foothills High School shut down due to COVID outbreak

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The department said it will work with the school to contact students and staff who might have been exposed and ask that they quarantine for 14 days. The last known exposure was Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The school will be closed through Wednesday, Oct. 21. If it’s determined that there were exposures after the Oct. 7, the closure will be extended accordingly.

The health department did not say exactly how many coronavirus cases were identified but its statement described it as “a cluster.”

“The decision to close the school has not been taking lightly,” the department said, reiterating the belief that the closure is necessary and “the most appropriate step in order to contain and stop the spread as quickly as possible.”

San Tan Foothills High School is part of The Florence Unified School District. FUSD students just started their second quarter on Oct. 5. That was also the first day of in-person learning, according to the district’s website.

Late Sunday afternoon, FUSD spokeswoman Rita Ezzai provided us with this statement:

Florence Unified School District #1 was directed to close San Tan Foothills High School by the Pinal County Health Department due to the number of persons they deemed necessary to quarantine because they may have been in close contact to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.

Florence Unified School District #1 was directed to close San Tan Foothills High School by the Pinal County Health Department due to the number of persons they deemed necessary to quarantine because they may have been in close contact to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. I have attached the letter that was sent home to families on October 10, 2020.

According to GreatSchools.org, there are 594 students in grades seven through 12 at San Tan Foothills High School.

This story will be updated as we learn more.

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