LOGAN – While many events throughout the state of Utah have begun shutting down over coronavirus concerns, local K-12 schools will remain open. On Thursday, Governor Gary Herbert and the Utah Coronavirus Task Force held a press conference providing the latest information about the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. He asked residents of the state to limit mass gatherings to less than 100 healthy individuals, including church meetings, concerts, conferences and sporting events. Among those participating in the press conference was State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson.
“We want to make sure that we do not close schools unless there is an imminent threat to our children and the adults who serve them,” Dickson stated. “Our situation is different than that of higher education. While many of our schools can implement distance learning through digital means, we are not capable of a full transition statewide for K-12 at this time.
“Additionally, not having K-12 children in school puts weight on families whose parents work during the day, or for those in which childcare is not an option. It is a different type of social and economic impact that we are not taking lightly.”
Both the Cache County and Logan school districts sent messages to parents and staff Thursday afternoon to reiterate that classes will remain open in their respective districts, but that may change. Both districts state they are in regular contact with the Bear River Health Department and there are no, currently confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cache Valley. But there are some restrictions being put in place.
The specific directives to school districts throughout the state include:
- Districts should not close school buildings unless directed to do so by local health departments.
- School-related out-of-state travel for all students and staff should be canceled.
- Large school gatherings, such as field trips, assemblies, activities, dances, athletic games and functions should be canceled. This includes sports activities, which the UHSAA has suspended beginning March 16th for a period of at least two weeks.
- Schools should amplify health and hygiene prevention measures.
Locally, there will be no dances, assemblies or school wide activities that involve mass congregation of students. In the Logan School District, that includes all elementary STEM fairs, the Mount Logan Middle School Choir Concert, the Mount Logan Middle School Band Concert, the Mount Logan Middle School 6th grade field trip and many other events. All out of state student travel scheduled through April 3rd will be canceled. After school clubs and all school activity and athletic practices will continue as normal in the Logan School District.
Friday, March 13th is already designated as a Professional Development Day in the Cache County School District, which means there will not be any classes for students but faculty and staff will be working on solutions if an extended closure becomes necessary.
“All classroom teachers will be working toward developing digital learning activities,” CCSD stated in its release Thursday. “These plans will be utilized if students are excluded from attendance or if we experience entire-school closures.”
As a precaution, both districts advise that if any children feel ill they should remain home.
“In regard to excluding your child from school, we respect the rights of parents to make decisions for their children as they feel appropriate. We expect that our schools will work with families to provide appropriate accommodations in light of the current circumstances. As always, students who are absent from school will be provided with opportunities to make up their learning.”
For questions regarding canceled school activities, both districts advise that you contact your respective school.