Marana Unified Changing Policies to Keep More Kids in School

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) – On a weekday afternoon in Marana, children are hard at work inside Estes Elementary School.

“Since we came back from winter break, like other schools in the Tucson area, we’ve been dealing with the coronavirus. Obviously we’re seeing an increase here,” said Alli Benjamin, director of public relations for the school district. Unified Marana.

On Tuesday, the Marana Unified School District reported 73 active cases of COVID. Prior to 2022, anyone coming into contact with a positive case had to be quarantined. Now everything is changing.

“If a student or staff member is exposed, we give them two options. They can either self-quarantine for five days and then test themselves, or participate in the ‘Test to Stay’ program,” Benjamin said.

The “Test to Stay” policy encourages students and staff members to test themselves after being exposed to COVID. If they test negative, they can stay in school and avoid a multi-day quarantine at home.

“It gives families and staff an option, if they are feeling well, if they test negative, to be able to return to school, continue to participate in school and classroom activities and stay involved as long as they show up healthy,” Benjamin said.

The policy was developed by the Pima County Health Department and the CDC. The district thinks this will have big benefits.

“Students and staff want to get back to in-person activities and learning because that’s something you can’t always replicate at home. There has been a loss of learning,” Benjamin said.

The district has a limited number of on-the-go COVID tests to distribute. Benjamin said they will try to support as many families as possible.

“We are constantly reminding staff and family members to please, please stay home when they are sick. We always recommend that people wear masks at school. We do also doing our best to prevent transmission of COVID in schools,” says Benjamin.
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