Updated Information on COVID-19
Why are Utah officials urging workers to work from home, but not recommending that public schools close? Even colleges are moving to online instruction.
As you may be aware, the Salt Lake County Health Department has not recommended the closure of Canyons’ schools at this time. Here is a link to the agency’s decision-making regarding K-12 schools and childcare programs: https://slco.org/health/COVID-19/ . To see information specific to K-12 schools, scroll down and select “Interim Guidance for Schools and Daycare” from the menu on the right side of the screen.
Public schools are unique settings for a variety of reasons:
- Most confirmed cases of novel coronavirus have occurred in adults, and serious illness has been uncommon in children.
- Closing schools impacts the workforce, and could hinder the ability of our first responders and health care workers to respond to novel coronavirus if they have to stay home to care for young children.
- If schools are closed, many working parents may have to attempt to arrange for costly child care — resulting in children still gathering in large settings — or leave their children alone for long periods of time. Experience with past pandemics has shown that when children aren’t in school, they often still gather in community settings, such as, parks or entertainment venues.
- Many of our students rely on schools for free and reduced lunch, and other vital services and resources.
- Teaching young children requires more hands-on supervision and guidance than instructing college students. While we’ve been encouraged to explore online learning options, it becomes an equity issue when we cannot guarantee that every student — including those requiring special education services or behavioral supports or who are still learning English — has access to appropriate instruction tailored to their unique needs. We also know that between 10-15 percent of our students don’t have access to a computing device or the Internet at home, and large families with multiple children have limited access.
Under what circumstances would Canyons District close schools?
At this point, there are few confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Salt Lake County, the most-populous county in Utah. Also, community transmission of the disease unrelated to travel has not yet begun in Utah. As a result, the preemptive closure of schools is not recommended at this time by the Salt Lake County Health Department. During a press conference Thursday with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, state education officials reiterated that school districts should follow the guidance of their local health departments in regards to questions of closures. Canyons is monitoring this situation on a daily basis and will publish regular updates at canyonsdistrict.org.
Will my child be penalized if I choose to keep him/her home from school?
We understand that many parents have concerns about sending their children to school during this time. Canyons District recognizes and respects the rights of parents to decide what is best for the children in their care. Parents make the final decisions regarding the health and well-being of their children. The Administration has asked schools to relax adherence to attendance policies. But students may be expected to make up any missed work when they return to school, and teachers may not be in a position to immediately communicate missed classwork or assignments. Students who have been directed by health authorities to be under quarantine or self-isolation should notify their school to make arrangements for the continuation of educational services.
How are schools managing school lunch given the state’s recommendations on mass gatherings?
Most secondary schools stagger lunches and allow students to eat in classrooms or in locations of their choosing throughout the campus. Elementary schools will be working to provide similar options.
What can I do at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus?
According to health authorities, the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to those related to seasonal colds or the flu, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. While these symptoms on their own should not be cause for alarm, we encourage families to keep sick students home and to monitor their student’s health closely if these symptoms arise. Parents can reinforce good hygiene practices at home:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Make sure you are cleaning between your fingers and under your nails.
- Avoid shaking hands, especially with those who appear to be ill.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible.
- Disinfect shared surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
SCHOOL AND DISTRICT EVENTS
As a preventive measure, in alignment with recommendations by health authorities, we have postponed many events until further notice. Please see CSD’s homepage for more information. Where possible, we will reschedule events.
- It’s too early to know if graduation ceremonies will be affected. When notified by public health authorities that the risk has subsided, schools will resume their regular event schedules.
- When in doubt about the status of a given event, call your school or the District Office.