PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Wednesday marked the first day of online learning for two Park City schools, where recent spikes in COVID-19 cases trigged a temporary suspension of in-person learning.
“We’re starting to see — we think — the post holiday surge,” said Mike Tanner, Chief Operating Officer with Park City School District.
“And so that’s what kind of has us concerned. So, we thought it was smart for us to just tap the brakes for a 10-day period,” added Tanner.
Park City High School and Treasure Mountain Middle School, which had so far been open along with other district schools, will resume classes on January 25. The district has been successful so far, Tanner says, because of an early buy-in regarding mask-wearing — along with a number of other safety measures, like HEPA filtration and ultraviolet lights.
But during the long winter break, district officials acknowledge that the variables — family or group gatherings, trips out of state — were out of their control.
“As of Monday, during our call with the emergency operations center with the county, the folks there described us — Park City — as the hot spot for Utah,” said Tanner.
“We were seeing at that point a 28 percent positivity rate, which back in March and April when this thing first kicked off, we were in the 3 to 5 percent range. So, we’re at a spike right now,” added Tanner.
When school resumes, Tanner says students and staff will get rapid testing every two weeks. Those who test positive will quarantine, and the hope is that school can remain in-person from that point into the future.
Parent Sylvia Hebert supports the decisions of the district after the deadly virus changed her family forever.
“My dad passed away of COVID in August 2020, obviously it’s very near and dear to me how I feel about COVID,” said Hebert.
Recently, the mother of three and sometimes substitute teacher contracted COVID-19, too.
“When I got it, I was very nervous that I was going to have the same outcome that he had,” said Hebert.
The virus spread through her immediate family, and they are currently at the tail end of a household quarantine.
“My kids have it. My son’s done on Friday. And my daughter who goes to Ecker, she’s done on Sunday. So we just passed it through the family. We’ve already been quarantined, so we’re going to be quarantining for two more weeks. No big deal,” said Hebert.
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