SYRACUSE, Utah (ABC4 News) – A COVID-19 outbreak within a Davis County elementary school has the district implementing a program to keep students in school.
Syracuse Elementary School is the first in Davis School District to meet its threshold of COVID-19 cases within the school, which will require all students and staff to Test to Stay on Tuesday.
In a school with less than 1,500 students, Utah law requires all students and staff to be tested for the virus if 30 or more people contract COVID-19.
“We want to make sure our schools are as healthy as possible where kids can receive their education,” said district spokesperson Chris Williams.
If parents opt-out of having their child tested, Williams said those students will not be allowed to go to school for 10 days, just like students who do test positive.
“We’re trying to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for the students,” he said. “We’re talking little kiddos, kindergarten to first-grade kiddos who may have never been tested before, we don’t mind having a parent there.”
Williams said district-wide COVID-19 cases are on the rise.
“As I look at our dashboard, I look at the areas of Syracuse, West Pointe, and parts of Clearfield where those numbers are going up,” he said.
Parent Mariah Bailey said she looks at the district’s COVID-19 dashboard daily and is not surprised to see her son’s school in this position.
“I saw them go all the way from zero to today was 39 in a matter of three weeks,” she said.
However, she said she wishes young students didn’t have to test to stay.
“For junior high and high school, they’re bigger kids, I think it’s OK,” Bailey said. “But I think it’s invasive for children under 12 to have tests, but what do you do?” Bailey said. “I would rather have kids wear masks to school in K-12.”
As COVID cases have gone up, Bailey said a student in her son’s third-grade class got COVID-19 and all students were required to wear a mask after that happened.
Bailey said she doesn’t believe there would be as many cases if kids were required to wear a mask to school and she pleads with parents to have their students mask up.
“If we put our kids in masks then we won’t have to have the cases so high and we can keep our kids in school and keep them healthier,” she said. “Right now, our hands are tied because of the law of not masking in schools and I think it’s ridiculous because we’re still in a pandemic.”
With cases on the rise in all Davis School District schools, Williams said it is a reflection of community transmission.
“What we hope is that as many students are in our classrooms being educated,” Williams said. “But be careful, COVID is out there. And it is definitely affecting our schools.”