DOUGLAS — As the number of COVID-19 cases increase not only in Douglas but also throughout Cochise County, representatives for the City of Douglas issued a statement Friday, June 12 indicating they are extending the closure of all city facilities.

The day prior, DUSD Superintendent Ana Samaniego announced that the planned graduation ceremony for the Douglas High School Class of 2020 that was scheduled for Friday, June 20, has been cancelled.

“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that after careful consideration Douglas Unified School District will not be proceeding with the June 20 graduation ceremony,” Samaniego said in a statement posted on the district’s website and Facebook page. “As difficult as this is, as disappointed students may feel, and as disheartened parents are, we cannot consciously put at risk the health of students, parents, staff and guests by holding a graduation ceremony. Your safety will always be our number one priority.”

Samaniego did say there will be a broadcast available online June 20 of the valedictorian and salutatorian speeches and more information will be released this week concerning the dispersal of diploma covers and awards.

“Seniors, you will prevail and this moment will not define who you are or will be,” the letter concludes. “Light up your light, find your path, make mistakes, and always know that the flame within you will always bring you back home.”

Officials with the City of Douglas stated that “in conjunction with Governor Doug Ducey’s guidelines for reopening amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the City of Douglas developed a phased plan to open in-person city operations and services. The City’s plan follows federal and state guidance and is divided into three phases. The targeted dates for Phases I, II and III were subject to change based on guidance from federal, state and county officials.”

Due to a recent uptick in local COVID cases however, City Hall, the police department lobby, the city library and Aquatics Center will remain closed to the general public through June 29.

“This target date is subject to change while the COVID situation in our area continues to be assessed,” the statement reads. “Most city services have continued without interruption and will continue during this extended facility closure. Services including public safety, utilities, water, streets, development services, housing, library and customer service have been, and will continue to be, delivered online and on the phone.”

Douglas’ newly elected mayor Donald Huish issued the following statement Saturday, “The city cares about the health of residents, city employees, visitors and those who work in Douglas. All critical services that Douglas provides – police and fire protection, traffic control, business services, building inspections, buses, court services, water and wastewater, and solid waste pickup – will continue to be available. Douglas is making every effort to continue providing those services uninterrupted even if the virus spreads and begins to affect city employees. The city staff is working diligently to develop safe protocols that will allow our parks and other recreational facilities to be utilized. We appreciate the cooperative attitude, support, and efforts of our community in this critical matter.”

The Douglas City Council is scheduled to have a public hearing and two special meetings on Wednesday, June 17.

“The council chambers with limited seating for the public on a first come, first served basis and reserving space for citizens that wish to speak on an agenda item,” the statement reads. “If you would like to address the city council regarding any item on the June 17, 2020 agenda, please contact the City Clerk at (520) 417-7301 or via email at alma.andrade@douglasaz.gov to complete your request to speak. As we continue to evaluate the city’s reopening plan, Douglas residents are encouraged to continue practicing good hygiene, physical distancing and following the recommendations provided by ADHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”

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