WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Jordan School District has adjusted how it responds to COVID-19 cases in its schools.
At the start of the school year, the Utah Department of Health recommended if a school had 15 or more COVID-19 cases, school districts should consider shifting students to online learning.
The Jordan School District has followed this guideline and board member Darrell Robinson said officials didn’t want to draw a hard line because every school tells a different story.
“Fifteen could be different at one school versus another school,” he said. “You could have 15, but five more are coming off the count tomorrow. So, do you really want to move everyone online when you know that? Or sometimes people on the dashboard who had COVID have actually returned to school. But because of how the board of health uses the dashboard, it’s not a true picture of what we’re actually seeing.”
Understanding the number of positive cases in a school is critical to know what actions to take, and Robinson said additional measures are now in place to help make decisions.
“One of which we decided is if quarantine’s pass 10 percent of the school enrollment…Another one was total absences. We were looking at some schools and they had 30 to 40 percent of the students were out,” he said. “This is a hard indicator to have, but what if the critical staff was out? And so, you couldn’t run a school…What if you couldn’t get enough subs because all of a sudden, your employees were out?”
For students in one of the district’s high schools, Robinson said if the student population has 15 or more COVID-19 cases, it’s an ‘early warning’ and the school is put on a watch list, is sanitized, and a letter is sent to parents.
If a school reaches 1% positivity (all other indicators are reviewed), Robinson said that’s when district officials will decide if learning needs to move online.
Middle and elementary schools
For students in middle or elementary school, Robinson said if a school approaches the 15-case count mark, online learning will be considered, along with the other indicators.
Room for growth
Robinson said no one has pandemic experience and he hopes people know the district is doing their best.
“We’re trying to look out for your kids, the community,” he said. “We’re going to make some mistakes along the way but gives us some latitude to as adjust.”
He continues to say if district officials see something that does not work, they will make adjustments and move in “another direction” as they want to do what’s best for teachers, students and staff.
If changes are made, Robinson said they will be addressed and announced during district board meetings. The next one is slated for Tuesday, Dec. 8th.