(This story has been updated to reflect a requirement to wear masks in all K-12 schools in Utah, issued by Gov. Gary Herbert)
SALT LAKE CITY — The Granite School District has published its plan for bringing students back to school in the fall. Representatives say that opening safely and staying safe throughout the year will require a joint effort from teachers, students, and parents.
Masks required for students
Originally, the district indicated that it will “strongly encourage students to wear masks in classrooms,” and that it will provide masks for students. However, on July 9, Gov. Gary Herbert announced that all students and teachers, and any visitors to K-12 schools in Utah, will be required to wear a mask.
Students will also be required to wear a mask if they ride the school bus. The District proposed this after results from a survey found that, of those parents who send their children to school on a bus, 84% would agree to a mask requirement for children riding the bus.
Parents have an important role to play by keeping a close eye on their children, and keeping them home if they are sick.
“Oftentimes, pre-COVID, sending a kid to school with the sniffles was an okay thing to do,” said District Spokesman Ben Horsley. “It’s not anymore.
“What we need is our parents to be really vigilant about making sure their kids with symptoms stay home.”
Social distancing may be easier
As for social distancing, that may take care of itself in some cases. Horsley says a survey revealed that up to a third of parents have concerns about sending their children back. If that’s true, then keeping space between students and teachers may be easier than first imagined.
“On average, if you only have 20 of your kids showing up for in-person instruction,” Horsley said, “your class size has been tremendously reduced and you’re going to be able to socially distance a lot better than you would with your 30 kids. ”
But Horsley said that’s only one of the ways that teachers will be protected as schools reopen.
The Granite School District will also provide extra personal protective equipment with money from the district and the national CARES Act. Horsley says the district will also have provisions for teachers who are considered to be high risk.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19Coronavirus
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.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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