9 of 17 cases tied to two extracurricular activities, officials said
RIVERTON — After 17 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 at Riverton High School in the past two weeks, the Jordan School District Board of Education voted 6-1 late Wednesday to close school Thursday and implement remote learning on Friday.
School will resume on a normal schedule Monday, but officials will carefully monitor coronavirus cases to see if additional action is needed. The school will undergo deep cleaning Thursday and Friday.
Nine of the 17 cases were among students involved in two extracurricular activities, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey said.
It is homecoming week and the school has a football game planned Friday night, among other activities. The school board said activities will be conducted at administrators’ discretion.
The Salt Lake County Health Department recommended the school district quarantine all students for 14 days, switch to virtual learning, conduct no extracurricular activities and conduct a deep cleaning of schools.
But some board members argued that the cases were clustered among a couple of groups and quarantining all of Riverton High’s 2,115 students seemed excessive.
Numbers of confirmed cases in the Jordan School District climbed from 50 cases over the past two weeks as of Monday to 74 on Wednesday, according to the Salt Lake County Department of Health dashboard.
The dashboard does not attribute increased numbers of cases to specific schools but it indicates if schools exceed 15 cases.
Riverton High School Principal Carolyn Gough said the school has carefully followed safety protocols and has prepared for all contingencies. “Some things are just beyond our control,” she said.
But safety of staff, students and faculty is the greatest concern.
“We’ve been preparing. We are resilient. We will be able to get through any mitigation strategy that’s needed to carry on,” she said.
All students have a device and can pivot to distance learning if necessary, she said.
Dylan Gorringe, a Riverton High student and member of the girls soccer team, said she was pulled out of class when she was told to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.
“I kind of felt like I was treated like a criminal,” she said.
Her mother said quarantines and remote learning, which all Utah students experienced last spring, take a toll on students’ mental health.
“When high school soccer started, I saw her come back to life,” said Ariane Gorringe.
Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, expressed confidence in the elected school board but urged board members to take a conservative approach “to keep our children learning in the way that they best can, which is direct instruction from their educators.” Whatever the board does, it will set a precedent, he said.
“I know that this job is not what you signed up for when you ran for election originally. It wasn’t in any of our job descriptions to deal with a global pandemic. It wasn’t any of our job descriptions to try and write on the fly, health policy on how to run a school and how to run a society, and how to do anything that …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News