SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Gary Herbert announced Friday what he termed a “soft closure” of all Utah public schools effective Monday, Mar. 16 as a preventive measure to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Herbert said that the decision to suspend classes from Mar. 16 through Mar. 30 for Kindergarten through 12th Grade students was made in the interest of providing a safe, healthy learning environment for Utah schoolchildren.
“As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Herbert said, adding that the soft closure decision was made after consultation with public school superintendents as well as state and county health officials.
Herbert was joined by Sydnee Dickson, the state superintendent of public education, who referred to the measure as a “dismissal” rather than a closure.
Dickson emphasized the public schools will remain open over the two-week period while classes are suspended. Administrators and school staff members will continue to provide meals for students, services to students with disabilities and other normal assistance to local families.
The superintendent added that school districts will be prepared to provide remote instruction to their students by Wednesday, Mar. 18 via locally-developed methods.
“This is not the end of the school year,” Dickson said. “We will re-assess our situation with regard to the coronavirus at the end of the two-week dismissal period and provide new guidance to public school students and their parents at that point.”