Park City High School starts ‘test to stay’ protocol for COVID-19, other schools likely to follow

Jan 7, 2022, 7:12 PM
Utah schools remote...

PARK CITY — A high number of COVID-19 cases forces Park City High School into “test to stay” protocol, requiring everyone at the school to be tested for the virus.  Educators in other districts say they wouldn’t be surprised if they have to do the same thing, soon. 

State law requires all schools with fewer than 1,500 students to enter their “test to stay” protocol if more than 30 people, students or faculty, test positive for COVID-19.  Any school with more than 1,500 students have to instigate the policy if two percent of the population is infected with the coronavirus.

Statewide, a record 9,469 new COVID cases were reported on Friday, with 1,372 of those cases being school-aged children.  In the Nebo School District, officials say their caseload is surprisingly low, however, Spokesperson Lana Hiskey said they’re still keeping a very close eye on those numbers.

“We will continue to work closely with Utah County Health and watching those numbers.  We realize that on any given day, those numbers could rise,” she said.

However, officials with Granite, Canyons and the Tooele County school districts are tracking rising rates in some of their high schools, and they predict the protocol will be instigated in the near future.  In Tooele County, District Director of Student and School Safety Jeff Wyatt said there is a dramatic rise in infected students in Tooele and Stansbury high schools.

“We, potentially, could be in a ‘test to stay’ situation next week with a school, or two,” Wyatt said.

Officials in the Canyons School District say they’re redoubling their cleaning within their schools.  Some schools, like Brighton High School, have reached what officials call the “vigilance letter” stage, where parents are informed about rising cases rates.  Spokesman Jeff Haney said Brighton has reached one percent of their overall population testing positive for the virus, which is the halfway point toward instigating the “test to stay” protocol.

Granite School District Spokesman Ben Horsley said Olympus and Skyline high schools have also reached the one percent threshold.

“That half-way mark is when we notify the community [and say], ‘Hey, we should be doing things to be safe, here,” Horsley said.  “We expect that one or two of those schools will likely need to initiate the protocol next week.”

Horsley said there are roughly a dozen other schools that are rapidly approaching the halfway point to triggering the testing policy.

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