Schools, Universities, and Child Care Centers

Due to the recent school closings, many districts are providing FREE grab and go breakfast and lunch to kids 18 and younger. Get details about the participating school districts.

Child Care Centers and K-12 Schools


03.15.2020: Gov. Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman have announced all schools in Arizona closed through April 10th. View the announcement. This does not include child care centers. 


Maricopa County COVID-19 Guidance for School Response (PDF)  (as of 3.13.2020)

Many parents and school officials have expressed concern about school closures due to COVID-19. From past experience, we know that students whose school is closed tend to spend time together in other areas during the times they would normally be in school. This does not decrease the risk of spread of disease, so it’s important parents and students are informed how to stay protected and adhere to community-wide recommendations to stay home, reduce non-essential outings, and avoid gatherings of 10 or more. 

What Schools Can Do if Closures are in Effect:

If there was a case of COVID-19 at a school, we would work closely with that school to issue recommendations that are made with consideration to student and staff health and safety, how to continue learning, and impact on the community.


What Schools Can Do if Open:

  • If a child presents symptoms of respiratory illness, they should be masked and sent home. 
  • Implement your annual seasonal influenza plan.
    • Students and staff who are ill, especially with acute respiratory symptoms (not allergies or chronic conditions), should stay home. 
    • Review sick policies for staff; ensure staff can stay home when ill. 
    • Maricopa County Department of Public Health recommends all employees/students/daycare attendees who have a fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater), cough, runny nose, shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms stay home and not return to work/school/daycare until they are free of fever and other respiratory symptoms for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication). Chronic medical conditions like allergies or controlled asthma do not require exclusion from work/school/daycare. This recommendation applies regardless of whether the individual has been tested for COVID19 or not, and is advised to reduce overall risk of transmission of flu-like illness before returning to work.
    • Medical Absence Statement for employees, students and daycare attendees (PDF) [Template communication for optional use by child care providers, employers, and schools]


  • Ensure prescribed cleaning is happening at school facilities (routine disinfectants are appropriate).
    • Enhance cleaning of high touch surfaces like door knobs, toilet handles, and sink handles. 
    • Ensure that hand sanitizer, soap/paper towels and tissues are widely available in school facilities. 
    • Remind students to cover their coughs/sneezes with a tissue or their elbow.

School Closures--Lessons from the 2009 H1N1 Outbreak

  • A simulation of costs and benefits for school closures in Pennsylvania during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak found that while school closures may reduce disease transmission, closure-related costs were greater than savings resulting from reductions in disease. 
    • Each day of school closure may have cost an estimated average of $120,000 per school in the state of Pennsylvania. 
    • The costs of school closure may have been approximately 5 to 40 times higher than the total costs from influenza without school closure mitigation, and therefore may have resulted in a net cost.
    • View the research article or open the PDF
  • An acute school closure after a potential student exposure to H1N1 resulted in families at a single school reporting 194 working days lost and at least $6,433 in lost wages.  
    • The school devoted more than 6,500 hours to the closure and outbreak prevention efforts. 
    • In spite of these costs, approximately 3/4 of families at this school supported the closure.
    • View the research article


Universities

If there was a case of COVID-19 at a college or university, we would work closely with that institution to make recommendations that take into consideration the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty, and how to continue education. 

What Colleges and Universities Can Do

  • Implement your annual seasonal influenza plan.
    • Students and staff who are ill, especially with acute respiratory symptoms (not allergies or chronic conditions), should stay home. 
    • Review sick policies for staff; ensure staff can stay home when ill. 
    • Review attendance policies so students feel comfortable taking the time they need to recover without exposing others.
  • Ensure prescribed cleaning is happening at school facilities (routine disinfectants are appropriate).
    • Enhance cleaning of high-touch surfaces like door knobs, toilet handles, and sink handles. 
    • Ensure that hand sanitizer, soap/paper towels, and tissues are widely available in school facilities. 
    • Remind people to cover their coughs/sneezes with a tissue or their elbow. 
    • Identify at-home learning opportunities during student absences or school closures. 
    • Identify how the school will communicate updates to students, staff, and faculty. 
  • Resources to reference and share: