YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Students across Yuma County are returning to in-person learning after the Winter holiday break.
More than 11 thousand high school students heading back to class amid another COVID-19 surge in cases.
On Thursday, Yuma Union High School District's six campuses opened back up.
“Looking forward to staying open for a second semester in 2022,” said Gina Thompson, YUHSD superintendent.
The district says all students should self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms each morning before leaving for school.
If a student were to test positive whether showing symptoms or not they must quarantine for five days at home then wear a mask on campus for another five days.
Inside the classroom, “each teacher may handle their classroom cleaning a little bit differently a perfect world would be you know the students cleaning their desk before they leave and the new students come in and clean when they get there and kind of keep that that cycle going,” Thompson explained.
She says she’s happy to welcome students and staff back to class in a safe environment.
“I think professionally we all know that the best place for our students is in our schools and again I think you mean high school district among all the other districts can be very proud of the things that we've put in place to remain open,” Thompson added.
Both Yuma Elementary School District One and Crane School District students will return next week.
"Our students will return to in-person learning on Monday (Jan. 10th) and we have not made any changes to our mitigation plan at this time," said a District One spokesperson.
According to Crane Schools, out of nearly six thousand students and staff district-wide, nine have tested positive within the last week.
Most districts across Yuma have made mask-wearing optional for students except on school buses where it’s required to wear one due to federal law.
Just this week, Governor Doug Ducey ensured in-person learning remains an option for all families and students, but that it stays consistent with guidance from public health experts.
Since the start of the pandemic, Yuma Regional Medical Center says there have only been ten children under 17 hospitalized, with the average hospital stay at roughly three days.
ADHS data reports that the all-time number of positive COVID cases in Yuma County residents under 19 is over 7,500.