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Two more Utah schools — Cottonwood High and Roy High — are moving online

(Photo courtesy of Cottonwood High School) Pictured are students arriving for the first day of fall semester 2020 at Cottonwood High School.

Two more Utah high schools will temporarily move online after COVID-19 outbreaks among students and staff.

Cottonwood High and Roy High both reported having more than 15 positive cases Tuesday. In response, Granite School District and Weber School District, respectively, announced they would each follow recommendations from the Utah Department of Health to shut down for two weeks and shuffle students to remote learning.

That begins with classes Wednesday at the high schools and goes through Oct. 28.

“At the end of the day, Granite District is committed to adhering to health department guidance,” said spokesman Ben Horsley about Cottonwood High. “We believe in the science behind that.”

Lane Findlay, the spokesman for Weber School District, added that the outbreak at Roy High spans multiple classrooms. They’re asking students “continue to be vigilant” and follow all health recommendations.

The state has advised — but not required — that schools shift to remote instruction for two weeks if they surpass 15 active cases. The idea is to get past the incubation period of the virus and limit further spread. But several school districts have ignored that recommendation.

So far, 15 schools in Salt Lake County have hit the 15-person infection threshold since most reopened in August. Three of those have not shut their doors for the full two-week period that’s suggested. Those are Riverton High, Copper Hills High and Bingham High, all in Jordan School District, which instead closed for a day or two for cleaning before allowing students to return.

Across the state, at least 22 schools now have hit the threshold — with 21 high schools and one middle school. There are 154 traditional high schools in Utah, so that accounts for slightly more than 14% hitting the recommended closure point.

Cottonwood High, with about 1,700 students, is the third in Granite District to cross the mark and close. The district has eight high schools. Roy High is the only one in Weber School District, so far, to close. The school, though, previously had to quarantine several administrators after an exposure.

Meanwhile, another four schools have gotten close to the threshold and taken measures, including shifting to a hybrid schedule mixing online and in-person classes, to try to stop the spread ahead of time.

Across Utah, there have been 3,904 cases of COVID-19 reported in schools. That jumped by 156 on Tuesday.

Here’s a breakdown of the reported school outbreaks of more than 15 individuals, by county, and what each district or charter has done in response:

Salt Lake County

Canyons School District

• Corner Canyon High: Initially moved to a hybrid schedule on Sept. 11. But after cases continued to climb, it moved to all online, starting Sept. 21 and going until at least Oct. 16.

• Alta High: Closed Sept. 22 for two weeks of online learning. It has since returned in person.

• Brighton High: Closed Sept. 22 for two weeks of online learning. It has since returned in person.

• Draper Park Middle: Closed Sept. 28 for two weeks of online learning. It has since returned in person.

Granite School District

• Granger High: Closed Sept. 23 for two weeks of online learning. It has since returned in person.

• Olympus High: Closed Sept. 23 for two weeks of online learning. It has since returned in person.

• Cottonwood High: Closed Oct. 14 for two weeks of online learning.

Jordan School District

• Riverton High: Closed for two days for cleaning and returned on Sept. 21.

• Copper Hills High: Closed for one day for cleaning and returned on Sept. 23.

• West Jordan High: Closed Oct. 1 for two weeks of online learning.

• Mountain Ridge High: Closed Oct. 1 for two weeks of online learning.

Bingham High: Closed for two days for cleaning and returned on Oct. 5.

Murray School District

• Murray High: Closed Oct. 5 for two weeks of online learning.

Charters

• American Preparatory Academy, Draper 1 campus: Closed Sept. 1 for two weeks of online learning. It has since returned in person.

Providence Hall High in Herriman: Closed Oct. 1 for two weeks of online learning.

Utah County

Alpine School District*

• Timpanogos High: Moved to a hybrid learning schedule on Sept. 22 for two weeks. It has since returned in person.

• American Fork High: Moved to a hybrid learning schedule on Sept. 28 for two weeks. It has since returned in person.

• Lone Peak High: Moved to a hybrid learning schedule on Sept. 28 for two weeks. It has since returned in person.

• Orem High: Moved to a hybrid learning schedule on Sept. 28 for two weeks. It has since returned in person.

*Additionally, Pleasant Grove High did not surpass 15 active cases, but it also moved to a temporary hybrid model on Sept. 3 for two weeks. It has since returned in person.

Weber County

Weber School District

• Roy High: Closed Oct. 14 for two weeks of online learning.

Piute County

Piute County School District*

• All three schools in the district — Oscarson Elementary, Circleville Elementary and Piute High — closed Oct. 5 for two weeks of online learning.

*None reached the 15-person threshold, but the district said too many students and teachers were out on quarantine to continue with face-to-face learning.

Tooele County

Tooele County School District

• Tooele High: Closed Oct. 9 for two weeks of online learning.

Wasatch County

Wasatch County School District

• Wasatch High: Closed Oct. 9 for two weeks of online learning.

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