School Suspended, Spring Training Canceled, and More Thursday Coronavirus Updates

By Jessica Swarner

March 12, 2020

The number of gatherings in Arizona being canceled or moved due to the coronavirus continues to pile up. 

The Alhambra Elementary School District in Phoenix announced it has temporarily suspended all classes, starting Monday when students would have returned from spring break.

“At this time, we have no known cases of the Coronavirus with students or staff, and this decision is simply a precaution to ensure the health and well-being of all of our students and employees,” spokeswoman Linda Jeffries told The Arizona Republic.

The district, which serves more than 13,000 students, did not say when its 14 schools plan to reopen. 

On Tuesday, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman sent a letter to education officials saying school closures were not recommended at this time. 

However, she told The Republic, it’s still up to individual districts and charter schools to make the call. 

Spring Training Canceled

Major League Baseball announced Thursday afternoon that all remaining spring training games have been canceled. 

The preseason drives more than a million people to Arizona, which hosts the Cactus League’s 15 teams in 10 ballparks throughout the Valley. 

According to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office, spring training had an estimated economic impact of about $644 million on the state and supported more than 6,400 jobs in 2018. 

The MLB also announced Opening Day of the regular season will be postponed from March 26 to April 9. 

The National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and Major Soccer League have also suspended games until further notice. Additionally, the National Collegiate Athletic Association canceled both the men’s and women’s March Madness basketball tournaments. 

Debate Relocated

Organizers of the Democratic debate that was scheduled in Phoenix for Sunday have decided to move the event to Washington, D.C. 

Earlier this week, the Democratic National Committee had said the debate would go on at the Arizona Federal Theatre, but members of the public and the press could not attend. 

However, in an effort to reduce cross-country travel, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders will exchange words at CNN’s studio in the nation’s capital. 

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who had been scheduled to be one of the moderators, will be sitting out due to possible exposure to the coronavirus. 

“Both Mr. Ramos and the person he was in contact with are in good health and symptom free,” DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement. “Despite being cleared by medical professionals and out of an abundance of caution, Jorge has decided to step aside from participating in the upcoming March 15 Democratic debate.”

Univision’s Ilia Calderón will take his place, while CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper are still scheduled to moderate. 

Polling Places Moved

As Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election is on Tuesday, and the city of Phoenix has decided to move five of its polling places out of senior living facilities. 

The move is meant to protect older adults, who are at higher risk for COVD-19. 

The Maricopa County Elections Department mailed postcards to more than 3,000 residents to notify them of the polling location change, according to The Associated Press.

Two of the affected stations are in Chandler while the others are in Scottsdale, Sun City, and south Phoenix. 

Officials in Pima, Pinal and Yavapai counties told The AP they have not yet moved any polling places.


  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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