FAMILY

Gov. Herbert, state officials address COVID-19 and Utah schools

Mar 12, 2020, 10:32 AM | Updated: 6:11 pm
covid-19 schools, Governor Herbert lowers flags to honor the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg...
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2018, file photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during a news conference at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert announced Thursday that the state will be taking preemptive public health measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19, especially in schools.

The recommendations also include guidelines for large gatherings, including churches, concerts and sporting events.

Preemptive Public Health Measures

Herbert announced a series of recommendations from the Utah Coronavirus Task Force, headed by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox. He said he agreed with the task force’s recommendations, which he added were not made lightly.

“This is being done based on good science and what has been learned from other countries,” Herbert said.

“So far we have not seen any community spread of the virus,” he continued, saying that the decisions are based on the assumption that the virus will become more serious.

The recommendations of the task force apply to the next two weeks but could last for longer. They include:

  • Limit mass gatherings to less than 100, including church meetings, concerts, and conferences. This does not apply to schools or businesses.
  • Those over the age of 60 and those with compromised immune systems should avoid gatherings of more than 20 people.
  • If you are sick, stay home. If you can work from home, do so.
  • Local health departments are in charge of the assessments of local schools.

“I believe that these steps will significantly slow the spread of COVID-19 here in our state,” Herbert said. “We are hoping for the best, but we are preparing for the worst. It’s going to take all of us working together.”

SCHOOL CLOSURES

In conjunction with the announcements made by the Governor and others, a number of schools across Utah made the decision to cancel classes and move to online instruction.

K-12

Sydnee Dickson, Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction, says that the decision to cancel schools is not taken lightly and that as of now there are no plans to cancel K-12 schools statewide.

“Safety for the students and the adults who serve them is our highest priority,” Dickson said, adding that the decision to close K-12 schools would be a local one.

However, her office sent recommendations to all K-12 schools to cancel all out-of-state travel over the next two weeks. At that time, she added, they will re-evaluate the recommendation.

“Our situation is different than that of higher education. While many of our schools are able to implement distance learning through digital means, we’re not capable of a full state transition at this time,” she said.

However, digital or distance learning is something Dickson said the state board of education is currently working on.

Dickson says that another issue they are considering closely is the impact that sending students home will have on working parents.

Murray City School District

Officials announced the Murray district’s schools would be closed until further notice, beginning on Friday, March 13, 2020. In Murray, unlike other school districts, officials said they became aware of possible direct contact exposure to the virus within the district.

Utah Catholic Schools

Effective March 16th through March 31st, all Utah Catholic Schools will begin online classes. Each Catholic school in the state will reach out to parents directly with more information.

Along with school closure, effective March 13th through the 31st, all Catholic places of worship and religious education programs will be closed.

Brigham Young University

BYU announced that graduation-related activities this spring will be canceled. Additionally, all sporting events will be closed to the public. Classes are running as scheduled.

Salt Lake Community College

SLCC will move all courses to online-only beginning on March 23 through the end of their semester on May 7.

Southern Utah University

SUU will move all classes to online instruction starting on March 23 through April 23.

University of Utah

“The University of Utah will shift to all-online instruction beginning March 18 for the rest of the spring semester,” school officials said.

President Ruth Watkins said housing and food services will be available throughout the rest of the semester, but asked where possible for students traveling home for Spring Break to remain there for the rest of the semester.

Utah State University

USU will move all courses online beginning March 18 and have canceled classes on from March 13-17. All campus activities are canceled.

Weber State University

Weber State is suspending classes from March 13-17 to allow staff time to prepare for online teaching. The school says that they will move all classes online beginning on March 18th for the rest of the semester. All other events will be canceled until March 30th.

Westminster College

The college will extend spring break through next week. After that, classes will be offered online for the rest of the semester.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus 

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading: 

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Don’t touch your face. 
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet) 
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.) 
  • Get a flu shot. 

Local resources

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

 

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Family

FILE - This Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, file photo shows application icons from left, Facebook, Facebook...
CNN

Surgeon General says 13 is ‘too early’ to join social media

(CNN) — U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says he believes 13 is too young for children to be on social media platforms because although sites allow children of that age to join, kids are still “developing their identity.” Meta, Twitter, and a host of other social media giants currently allow 13-year-olds to join their platforms. […]
3 days ago
January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the ...
Waverly Golden

Utah’s Hogle Zoo “Cats and Cocoa” event

January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the endangered cats of the zoo.
6 days ago
A bill that would encourage Utah communities to bump Halloween festivities — like trick-or-treati...
Logan Stefanich

Utah resolution proposing Friday designation for Halloween celebrations advances

While the bill wouldn't change the date of Halloween itself, it would recognize a designated day for Halloween celebrations.
7 days ago
The bill, S.B. 117 Domestic Violence Amendments, would streamline domestic violence reports, placin...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Domestic violence bill moves to full Utah Senate for vote

S.B. 117 streamlines domestic violence reports, placing them all into one database. Then, Police can access this information before heading to a scene of reported domestic violence.
8 days ago
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday plans to r...
Mark Jones

Church announces Anchorage Alaska Temple reconstruction

Reconstruction of the Anchorage Alaska Temple was announced Monday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
10 days ago
This July 20, 1969 photo made available by NASA shows pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin in the Apollo 11 Lu...
Raja Razek and Zoe Sottile, CNN

Retired astronaut Buzz Aldrin marries ‘longtime love’ on his 93rd birthday

Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, the second person to ever set foot on the moon in 1969, married his "longtime love" on his 93rd birthday on Friday.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Gov. Herbert, state officials address COVID-19 and Utah schools