CDC calls on Utah to help schools resume in-person classes nationally

Mar 25, 2021, 5:49 PM

SALT LAKE COUNTY — Educators are calling on Utahns to help them safely reinstate in-person classes at schools across the country. Officials from the Granite School District were part of a panel hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday, describing the steps they took to resume in-person learning.

Utah leads the way back to in-person classes

Officials with the Granite School District say when districts in certain parts of the country resumed in-person learning in the fall, they were heavily criticized for it. Granite Spokesman Ben Horsley said they were following the best scientific data that was available at the time.  Plus, he said there were other figures that were especially concerning.

“Forty percent of our kids did not engage last spring,” he said. “That’s 25,000 students that did not engage through distance learning.”

Horsley said their top priority has to be finding what is best for the students, and remote learning just wasn’t working as well as they hoped.

“We had no choice but to find a way,” he said. “Utah is leading the way.”

HERO project provides model to return safely

Over 20 schools in the Granite School District took part in the Utah HERO Project (Health and Economic Recovery Outreach) in which researchers tracked the spread of COVID-19 within schools.  Out of 1,000 contacts, analysts fond only five cases where a student with COVID-19 exposed another student to the virus. Horsley said this proved the risk of community spread in schools is very low.

“The data is coming back in full swing to show how little transmission is happening on school property when protocols are followed,” he said.

The Utah HERO Project is the same report that convinced the CDC to change their social distance recommendations, which noted students would be safe with masks and three feet of distance instead of six. Horsley said some states are keeping with strictly online instruction, while others are making a plan to bring kids back to the classroom — and they need help with that.

Now, Horsley said they have to play catch up against the decline in retention students had during distance learning.

“When 40% of your kids do not engage last spring, we’ve been making up for it since the start of last fall,” he said. “There is always going to be that needed intervention and support.”

Today’s Top Stories


Officials at Weber State University are considering a change to the student health services current...
Alexandrea Bonilla

Weber State University considers outsourcing student health care

Right now, the health center at Weber State provides low-cost care to students and does not require any form of insurance.
5 days ago
The Biden administration is again extending the pause on federal student loan payments....
Arlette Saenz and Katie Lobosco, CNN

Biden extends student loan repayment freeze as program remains in court

The latest extension comes as the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness program remains tied up in the courts.
5 days ago
After six years leading USU, and an overall 32 year career with the school, President Noelle E. Coc...
Simone Seikaly

USU President Noelle E. Cockett will step down

USU President Noelle E. Cockett has been part of the college's community for 32 years.
5 days ago
Mark Jackson

BYU wellness students return from Blue zone with healthy lifestyle tips

Some BYU students are learning how to live healthy and happier lives from a trip to Ikaria, Greece.
5 days ago
Brig. Gen. Richard W. Gibbs, center, speaks with University of Utah students before a press confere...
Mark Jones

U of U announces partnership with U.S. Air Force

The University of Utah School of Engineering and the U.S. Air Force have agreed to a partnership that is expected to last five years.
9 days ago
Shortages in daycares across the country and in Utah are keeping thousands of parents home, intead ...
Becky Bruce and Kira Hoffelmeyer

School and daycare facilities haven’t “bounced back” to normalcy

Along with the rest of the nation, a shortage of daycare workers and teachers in Utah means parents are staying home from work.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

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...

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
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
CDC calls on Utah to help schools resume in-person classes nationally