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Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind closes over staff COVID outbreak
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Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind closes over staff COVID outbreak

From the Arizona Daily Star reporter Genesis Lara's Top 5 stories of 2021 series

The Tucson campus of the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind bumped up its Thanksgiving break a week earlier than scheduled after four transportation employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Maria Murphy, the school’s director of policy and government relations, said the Pima County Health Department recommended that it temporarily close the transportation department to prevent further spread.

“Unfortunately, there’s a nationwide bus driver shortage, so we ended up having to close the classrooms because there were not enough bus drivers to transport the children back and forth to school,” Murphy said about finding temporary replacements.

The school’s Thanksgiving break, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 22-26, turned into a two-week break after students were sent home Nov. 12.

Murphy said the school, at 1200 W. Speedway, had already implemented additional instruction hours into this year’s school calendar, so students and teachers were not forced to switch to online learning this week.

The school’s enrollment is 149 students, 37 of which live in campus dorms, Murphy said, adding that it had not encountered positive COVID-19 infections among students and teachers within recent weeks.

Early this month, Agua Caliente Elementary School also shut down in-person classes temporarily after it recorded more than 40 positive coronavirus infections. By the time that students returned to northeast-side campus Nov. 15, the school was reporting five active out-of-school COVID-19 infections.

Contact reporter Genesis Lara at

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