Weekly District Update - Nov. 20, 2020

Weekly District Update - Nov. 20, 2020
Posted on 11/20/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Weekly District Update - Nov. 20, 2020We did it! We made it through the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year and our schools are still open for in-person attendance! Congratulations to all the administrators, teachers, school staff, parents, and students for reaching this milestone.

Next week, classes will be held Monday and Tuesday only. All schools will be closed Wednesday through Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. There will be no grab-n-go breakfast or lunch served during the break. Free COVID-19 testing won't be available on Wednesday and Friday for students and staff who are eligible under the "low-risk test and return" protocol. The district office will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Right now, the district does not intend to move any of our schools to reduced in-person capacity or to remote learning after the Thanksgiving break.

As the number of positive cases in our county continue to rise, however, it’s important to understand what might force the district to make such a move. We’ll use Uintah High School as an example in the first scenario.

The high school has had nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in the past 14 days. There is no evidence that these nine individuals contracted the virus at school. Their cases are reported on the district’s COVID-19 Dashboard because the individuals were at school during the time they were contagious or symptomatic, which led to other individuals at the high school being quarantined.

Under the state guidelines, 15 people testing positive for COVID-19 across multiple settings in a school or 10 percent of the school population, whichever is less, in a 14-day period amounts to a school outbreak. As it stands today, Uintah High is currently six confirmed cases away from reaching this mark.

Another scenario that could lead the district to move a school to reduced in-person attendance or remote learning would be a spike in cases among essential staff – teachers, bus drivers, custodians, maintenance workers, or school foods staff – that makes it impossible to continue holding school in-person at 100 percent capacity.

Finally, the governor, the Utah Department of Health, and the TriCounty Health Department each have the legal authority to dismiss or close schools in response to a public health emergency. This would be similar to what happened in March, when the governor dismissed all schools statewide.

In consultation with TriCounty Health, many things will be considered when the district is faced with a decision to close schools or move to a reduced capacity schedule, including:

1. importance of in-person learning to the social, emotional, economic, and academic growth and well-being of students

2. number of people in the community who are testing positive for COVID-19 (called community spread or community transmission)

3. number of students, teachers, and employees who are testing positive for COVID-19 or who are on quarantine due to an exposure

4. growth rate of new cases (people who tested positive) in the area

5. statewide capacity for testing, hospital beds, and ICUs

6. the COVID-19 Transmission Index level the county is currently in

7. interaction of students, teachers, and employees among other schools in the district

8. ability to provide virtual learning to students

9. economic and social hardships on families and students

District and school administrators continue to work closely with TriCounty Health to keep our schools open, but we need your help.

Please stay home if you are sick.

Practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet from anyone outside your household.

Wear a mask whenever physical distancing is not possible.

Wash your hands properly with soap and water.

Follow the latest guidance from federal, state, and local public health officials and the governor.

“Keeping our schools open for in-person learning is critical, not only for the well-being of our kids, but for the health of our local economy, too,” Uintah Schools Superintendent Rick Woodford said. “The efforts we make and the precautions we take over the coming days and weeks will contribute directly to our ability to keep our kids in their classrooms.”

For more information about COVID-19 and schools, visit www.coronavirus.utah.gov/education/.

For more information about the district’s response to COVID-19, visit https://bit.ly/USD_COVID19.

Have a safe weekend and a Happy Thanksgiving next week!
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No district employee or student shall be subjected to discrimination in employment or any district program or activity on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The district is committed to providing equal access and equal opportunity in its programs, services and employment including its policies, complaint processes, program accessibility, district facility use, accommodations and other Equal Employment Opportunity matters. The district also provides equal access to district facilities for all youth groups. The following persons have been designated as Title IX coordinators to handle inquires and complaints regarding unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation: Dr. Mistalyn Leis, Human Resources Director (435) 781-3100. You may also contact the Office for Civil Rights, Denver, CO, at (303) 844-5695.