Utah creates manual to guide schools’ COVID-19 response

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – New guidelines for reopening Utah’s schools have been issued by the Utah Department of Health.

In a briefing where the State reported 9 new deaths due to COVID-19, Governor Gary Herbert, Dr. Angela Dunn, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dixon explained the state’s new manual for school and some of the things parents can expect this year.

Before diving into the information for the return to schools, the governor did a “What are the facts?” question and answer set with Dr. Dunn and brought on BYU’s Dr. Benjamin Abbott to discuss his group’s independent research into masks.

The new school manual says there are two things Utahns should know that are the most important.

  1. What to do if a student, teacher or employee is exposed to COVID-19 or tests positive
  2. How to make a healthy learning environment and protect your school

Dr. Dunn said, “Any child who has COVID, or symptoms of COVID will be staying home. Those who are close contacts to a confirmed COVID case at school will have the option of having a modified quarantine. This means that they will be able to attend school if their parents would like them too as long as they do not have any symptoms, they screen themselves for symptoms daily, they wear a face covering while in school and practice physical distancing as much as possible.”

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

She added, “If any close contact comes down with symptoms consistent with COVID they will be asked to stay home.”

State School Superintendent Sydnee Dixon said the manual is to help parents, students and teachers understand the ramifications of these health conditions on schools.

She said the manual “outlines many of the questions that we’ve been asked…those are situations around quarantine, testing, safe conditions for teachers, what to do around activities and athletics, what a cluster looks like.”

(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

“One of the things I like about the manual is the scenarios played out in the manual, it can walk you through the day in the life of a student, or a teacher who might have been exposed, or a family member who might have been exposed, it takes the health guidance and puts it into a very usable format,” said Dixon.

Dixon explained the manual is 102 pages long but she said you can go through the entire thing in a little over an hour.

You can download a copy of the new state guidelines

The State said it will be updating the school guidelines as the situation demands. You can follow updates here as changes occur.

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