Pima Unified School District Employee Tests Presumptively Positive For The Coronavirus

Published: Saturday, March 14, 2020 - 7:41am

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Pima Unified School District in Graham County in southeastern Arizona said on Friday evening that an elementary school employee has presumptively tested positive for the coronavirus. 

About 500 kindergarten through sixth-grade students attend Pima Elementary School where the employee works, and an estimated 166 students are believed to have come in contact with her, said superintendent Sean Rickert. 

"We have asked the students who she came in contact with to self-quarantine," he said. "We have also asked staff members that had contact with that staff member to self-quarantine. We are working with the county health department to take whatever steps we can to address this issue in a way that preserves our public health system."

Rickert said he realizes that many of the elementary students have siblings that go to other Pima district schools. The district said a clinic will provide testing for symptomatic students at Pima Junior High School starting early next week in Pima, Arizona. 

Michelle Alonso is a parent of two students at the elementary school. She said she never expected that the outbreak would hit so close to home. 

"This whole situation is scary," Alonso said in a Facebook message. "My daughter in third grade is very scared. She is being very quiet and wanting me to hold her. She's  afraid shes going to get this virus."

Rickert told KJZZ on Thursday that he decided to close his schools late Wednesday after the employee reported possible exposure. About 1,000 students attend the entire school district.

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