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ELOY — The COVID-19 pandemic caused students to transition to an at-home school situation for much of the 2020-21 school year. However, after a year of mostly at-home and online learning, Eloy Elementary School District students returned to in-person instruction Monday.

Students at Curiel Primary School, Eloy Intermediate School and Eloy Junior High School have been welcomed back with safety protocols and guidelines in place in order to keep all students and faculty safe from the virus.

EESD Superintendent Ruby James discussed the process of bringing students back to campus and touched on masks, quarantine stipulations and the safety measures that would be in place for the 2021-22 school year.

“The EESD Governing Board held two public hearings regarding safe school reopening protocol. During the public hearings COVID-19 related information was discussed,” James said in a press release. “The Governing Board’s decision was to encourage all students and staff to wear masks but will not make it mandatory for students and staff.”

Although masks will not be required for students and faculty for EESD schools, James noted that schools have enacted many safety guidelines in order to keep school grounds clean and sanitized.

“EESD has a mitigation plan that outlines safety protocols to ensure that we provide a safe and sanitized environment for students and staff,” James said. “Our facilities director has sufficient supplies available for custodial staff to clean and sanitize the schools daily. We will continue to adhere closely to all CDC and local health office guidelines.”

One of the big questions for parents is if students would be required to quarantine before the first day of school. While James said that students were not required to be quarantined before school started, students would be quarantined if they test positive.

Santa Cruz Valley Union High School Superintendent Orlenda Roberts said in a press release that the district will be following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arizona Department of Health Services guidelines.

Santa Cruz Valley students will return to campus on Aug. 2.

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David Church is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. He can be reached at dchurch@pinalcentral.com.