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Tue, May 26

Grand Canyon, Tusayan remain on alert during COVID-19
National park remains open, Tusayan EMS take precautions, school closes

Grand Canyon National Park remains open, however, because of public health concerns related to COVID-19, some park facilities are closed and some related activities have been cancelled. (Loretta McKenney/WGCN)

Grand Canyon National Park remains open, however, because of public health concerns related to COVID-19, some park facilities are closed and some related activities have been cancelled. (Loretta McKenney/WGCN)

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Grand Canyon National Park remains open, however, because of public health concerns related to COVID-19, some park facilities are closed and the Park Entrance Stations at Desert View and the South Rim entrance, are self-service only.

The park is asking visitors to use the self-pay machines in each entrance lane.

As of March 16, all South Rim visitor contact stations are open. This includes Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Yavapai Geology Museum, Verkamps Visitor Center, Kolb Studio, Tusayan Museum and Desert View Watchtower.

The Visitor Center Theater and the Science on a Sphere© Theater located at the South Rim Visitor Center are closed until further notice. Ranger programs are limited.

Interpretation Programs on the South Rim are also suspended until further notice, including those at Desert View Watchtower. Desert View Cultural Demonstrations will be suspended through the month of March. The Tusayan Museum, located 3 miles west of Desert View, has been closed until further notice.

Contact stations in the Canyon at Indian Garden and Phantom Ranch are open.

Town of Tusayan

The town of Tusayan is currently relying on the expertise of Coconino County Health Department and Tusayan Fire Department for COVID-19 monitoring.

According to Tusayan Town Manger Cynthia Seelhammer, the town council plans to meet this week to discuss options regarding the virus.

“We will look into how the town could assist residents with food supplies and other essentials,” she said.

Tusayan Fire Department said it is coordinating with Coconino County for updates and information.

“We’ve been talking to emergency services, health services and departments of Coconino County and they’ve been tremendous,” said TFD Chief Greg Brush.

Brush said it is important that the public continues to take precautions like hand washing for 20 seconds or more and social distancing in public places.

“I have to say thank you to businesses that are really being aggressive to educating their employees and do what they can to stay educated and take precautions,” he said.

Brush said the fire department is no longer giving station tours and has closed its doors to visitors and guests at the station.

“Not only do we want to avoid front line responder from being infected but until further notice we don’t want to have any two way chances for infection,” he said.

The public can subscribe to the town's text messaging system for local updates.

“The town is currently doing text updates for residents,” Brush said. “Also, anytime there is a big incident like this the Tusayan Fire Department is putting updates on its Facebook page as local information becomes available.”

To subscribe for text updates from the town text: TUSAYAN to 31996.

Grand Canyon School

On March 15, Governor Doug Ducey and Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced a statewide closure of Arizona schools from March 16-27.

Grand Canyon Unified School District School was on spring break March 9-12.

School administration announced on their website the school would be closing the week of March 16 as a proactive measure related to the coronavirus

“This is a challenging time for our families, staff and community,” the school said. “We are grateful for the ongoing support and patience of our Grand Canyon Community as we work to make decisions that are best for our students, staff, and families. Our top priority continues to be the health and safety our school community.”

Although no cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the school district, staff closed school the week of March 16-22 in an effort to be proactive and support statewide and national efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

“We will continue to actively communicate with our parents, families and staff via text, email and our website,” they said.

During their school closure, all athletic events, practices, school events, field trips, preschool, clubs, onsite meetings and community hosted events are canceled.

All school buildings and facilities will be unavailable to the public and faculty.

If you there is a high priority need to access school facilities, people can contact Grand Canyon School Principal Matthew Yost at myost@grandcanyonschool.org.

Details about food provisions and potential online learning opportunities will be forthcoming on the school’s website.

“We appreciate the support of our families and community as we remain committed to the health and safety of our students, families, and the wider community,” the school said.

Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus

In an effort to keep visitors and employees safe on the national park shuttle buses, only passengers that can be seated will be allowed to board, regardless of the number of people waiting in line at a shuttle stop

While this means visitors may have to wait longer at some of the bus stops, this practice allows greater social distancing between passengers as well as between passengers and drivers.

Grand Canyon National Park said visitors can be assured that the facilities in the park, including lodges and restaurants, continue to monitor conditions and maintain high standards related to the health and wellness of staff and visitors. Park and concession staff are working to maintain clean and healthy facilities in accordance with CDC guidance.

More information and for park updates visit https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/grand-canyon-national-park-public-health-update.htm?fbclid=IwAR2RdLFnr4EkaITKBshOiLtnyiBNjmotfcXh7uCLHGknhdLm-QDZWoeBILs

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