Pima closes schools, San Carlos Apaches testing two

Updated from earlier reports

PIMA – Saying some elementary school students may have had exposure to “an unknown illness,” Pima Unified School District Superintendent Sean Rickert announced Pima schools were closing Thursday, the day before the start of spring break.

Rickert made the announcement late Wednesday evening via social media and confirmed his decision with Gila Valley Central and KATO News Radio Thursday morning.

“Out of an abundance of caution, while the County Health Department determines if this is in fact an incidence of Corona Virus, Pima Schools will be closed for Thursday, March 12. Information about extracurricular activities will come in subsequent notifications,” Rickert said.

Meanwhile Safford and Thatcher schools remain in session.

“Safford schools will continue to be proactive during this time of concern, we will continue to keep school in session and continue cleaning and sanitizing classrooms, restrooms and buses. We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you informed through our district website at: www.saffordusd.com,” said AJ Taylor, director of instructional services in an e-mail.

Thatcher Unified School District Superintendant Matt Petersen said Thatcher staff is on “heightened awareness” while school remains in session.

“Staff received notification through the district e-mail about the policies and procedures to follow at this time. And the district is working closely with the (Graham) County Health Department,” Petersen told Gila Valley Central.

As of now, school will be in session Friday, though Petersen said the district will be “monitoring as we go.”

School is also scheduled to be in session Friday at Safford schools.

San Carlos Apache Tribe

The San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation announced it has two people quarantined pending testing for Corona Virus.

“Two patients were seen at SCAHC with COVID-19-like symptoms. Test results are not in yet, but we do know that these patients have not had direct contact with any other known COVID-19 patients,” tribal health officials said in a prepared statement.

The two patients are being kept separate from other medical patients and the families of the patients have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days.

There is no word yet on which districts in which the families live.

Senior Center and Library

Officials with both the Safford City-Graham County Library and the Graham County Senior Citizens Center said plans are to remain open to the public for the foreseeable future.

“For right now, we’re going ahead with events as scheduled,” said Library Director Victoria Silva. “If we feel that there’s a concern down the line – that people are more concerned about it spreading – then we would close those events. But, as of now, they’re still scheduled and still ready, and we’ll have them Monday through Wednesday of next week.”