HEALTH

Utah schools face Test to Stay challenges, lawmakers will consider pausing the program

Jan 13, 2022, 9:04 AM | Updated: 1:34 pm
Test to Stay schools...
Many COVID test sites across the state are expected to close. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Listen Live: House Speaker Brad Wilson addresses challenges with Test to Stay in Utah schools

SALT LAKE CITY — Some schools don’t have the resources to test their students for the Test to Stay state policy. Now, Utah lawmakers are considering pausing the program.

The list of schools implementing a Test to Stay protocol keeps getting longer here in Utah. More than a dozen high schools in Salt Lake County have implemented the program. But conducting so many tests is a huge challenge for the schools and health departments. 

Putting “test to stay” to a pause?

House Speaker Brad Wilson addressed the challenges Utah schools face on KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic Thursday morning. Wilson announced major news. The omicron variant has created a rise in COVID-19 cases that schools and health departments cannot keep up with. 

The House Speaker explained lawmakers are considering putting the Test to Stay program to a halt as many schools face shortages of testing equipment with so many cases. 

KSL NewsRadio host Debbie Dujanovic announced the development after the live interview. Dujanovic reported Wilson plans to announce more details on Friday. The announcement will arrive a day after the Salt Lake County Council has made an official decision on whether students will continue to be required to wear masks to school.

The Test to Stay state guideline

Utah state law has a Test to Stay policy for schools during the pandemic to determine whether schools should continue to teach in-person or move online.

The policy states 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 will initiate the policy if 2% of the population is infected with the coronavirus.

However, the manager of the Epidemiology Bureau at the Salt Lake County Health Department says there may not be enough tests to test all of the students.

Mary Hill told KSL TV’s Morgan Wolfe the Salt Lake County Health Department hasn’t received their latest shipment of testing supplies. As such, they don’t have the capacity to test as many people as they did before. Now, the local health department has asked the state health department for assistance. 

Some schools are moving online

The Canyons school district announced a day of online learning next week. On Tuesday, the district explained its reasoning. 

The virtual school day is a result of constantly rising COVID-19 cases and exposure among students and staff, which result in absences and staffing shortages. The district’s emergency Remote Learning Day will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 18 after the holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.

On Wednesday, Utah’s largest school district made a similar announcement. The Alpine school district will move to remote learning on Friday, Jan. 14 and return to in person learning on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

While students and staff are away, Alpine schools will be cleaned and ready for students’ return on Wednesday. 

Contributing: Eliza Craig, Kelsey Earl, Martha Harris, Paul Nelson

Related reads:

Today’s Top Stories

Health

intermountain healthcare...
Mark Jones

Name change coming to Intermountain Healthcare next year

In 2023, Intermountain Healthcare will change its name to Intermountain Health.
2 days ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
2 days ago
Lincoln Beach pictured. Two shooting at Utah Lake happened near this beach....
Simone Seikaly

Utah County Health issues warning about harmful algal blooms

Utah County officials have detected high levels of harmful algal blooms at multiple Utah Lake marinas and beaches.
2 days ago
Intermountain milestone 1 million tests...
Mark Jones

Intermountain Healthcare purchases land near Ephraim

Intermountain Healthcare has plans to develop 35 acres of land in the Ephraim area into a new hospital.
3 days ago
At 5800 So. 1400 W. you find an irrigation canal that attracts  a lot of waterfowl, seagulls and ev...
Mark Jones

Officials warn of additional cases of avian influenza

With the fall migration of wild waterfowl, state officials are warning bird owners to be prepared for additional cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or avian influenza.
3 days ago
Utah homes are recording high levels of radon gas. 
Photo credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News...
Heather Kelly and Elizabeth Weiler

Utah homes have some of the highest levels of radon gas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that one in 15 homes in the U.S. have dangerous levels of radon gas. Utah is at much higher risk.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form 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.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Utah schools face Test to Stay challenges, lawmakers will consider pausing the program