PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The U.S. Secretary of Education visited Phoenix on Thursday.

Betsy DeVos, along with Governor Doug Ducey, toured the Phoenix International Academy, which is being recognized for innovation efforts during the pandemic.

Betsy DeVos in Phoenix

Part of the focus was also on schools safely reopening, especially as COVID cases on the rise at schools across the Valley. Districts may be looking for some direction, but the governor made it clear, he’s leaving the decision up to them.

The Governor and DeVos visited a Phoenix school that recently received money from the Federal Cares ACT. This comes as 23 schools have reported outbreaks of coronavirus in the county since August, 21 of which still have 'active' outbreaks.

The Pinal County Health Department directed two schools to close to address the cluster of cases in their county.

In response to the numbers, Secretary DeVos says Governor Ducey is correct in the way he is handling the outbreaks.

“Every school building and district have protocols in place, so many of them are offering in-person instruction again, and that’s important for kids,” said Secretary DeVos.

Meanwhile, the governor says districts should continue to follow protocols. “Guidelines are in place for schools and parents when someone comes down with COVID-19 they can be quarantined and get proper care,” said Governor Ducey.

Government officials do not have to reveal which schools have seen outbreaks. Still, according to Maricopa County’s Public Health’s dashboard, of the impacted campuses, there are 93 reported cases, 62 are students, 31 are staff.

An outbreak at a school is defined as two or more confirmed coronavirus cases, and it's not considered under control until that school goes 28 days without a new case.


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