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Many Utah school districts still waiting on COVID guidance for the fall

FILE Kindergartner Isaac Nshuti wears a mask as he does an assignment at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — School starts in August all around Utah, but there’s still a lot up in the air for parents, students and teachers waiting on official Covid protocols.

State law put most of the Covid guidance in the hands of local health departments there could be differences again depending on where you live.

School districts around Salt Lake County and Utah County for example are telling their communities that they are still waiting on more information from their health departments.

For example, the Nebo School District posted, “We are still waiting to receive guidelines from health officials on how we will proceed regarding COVID-19 protocols. While we do not know specifics, vaccinations for 12-18-year-old students will help them stay in school and avoid quarantine.”

And the Granite School District explained that their officials are meeting regularly with Dr. Angela Dunn and her team at the Salt Lake County Health Department. When they get the new protocols, they will share them.

The Canyons School District also said in an answer to a parent’s question on Facebook, “We will continue to work with the Salt Lake County Health Department to closely monitor COVID-19 case counts and variants and make operational changes as needed in line with their guidance and in adherence with state law. As soon as we have further information to share, we will directly notify families.”

The Washington County School District is moving forward after speaking with their health department. Their superintendent told the St. George News the district does not plan to mandate masks or vaccines, nor require quarantine for students around a classmate who tested positive, or have test to play programs.

New state law prohibits local school districts from mandating masks, and on Thursday Utah’s governor said he does not plan to roll that back.

“I don’t believe that mandates are, under the circumstances, with what we know right now, are necessary,” Cox told KSL NewsRadio.

Cox says people can choose a mask for their children if they wish. He has also repeatedly promoted vaccinations.

Some schools held vaccine clinics in the spring. The Ogden School District is telling families that they can get the vaccine for anyone ages 12 and up during back-to-school registration events next week.

Many school districts are offering a separate online school for parents who want to keep their kids home this upcoming year.

Data collected over the last school year in Utah showed transmission from student-to-student and student-to-teacher was also extremely low.

Utah’s case counts as of July 29 showed cases, hospitalizations and death among children ages 0-14 remain extremely low. They have been the lowest of any age group since the pandemic began.

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