In a special meeting on Friday, Sept.18, the Board of Education approved a moving-forward roadmap for Canyons District to follow as school communities experience increases in positive COVID-19 cases.
As a result of the new plan, Corner Canyon High will pivot on Monday, Sept. 21 to an online-learning instruction model for 14 days. Parent and guardians on Friday night received a letter informing them of the temporary schedule change.
The pause in on-campus learning was determined to be in the best interest of students, families, and employees following a sustained increase in COVID-19 cases in the Draper community.
In-person instruction is expected to resume on Monday, Oct. 5. The Board and Administration will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate options in consultation with the Salt Lake County Health Department.
More information about online learning expectations will be forthcoming from the school and individual teachers. Lessons and assignments will be communicated using CSD’s learning management system, Canvas.
Utah High School Activities Association-sponsored activities can continue as planned as long as there have not been three or more positive cases within a two-week period on one sports team or performing group and required health precautions are taken.
The newly approved moving-forward blueprint was based on recommendations crafted by a sub-committee of the Board. This group, made up of Board members Steve Wrigley, Clareen Arnold, and Amanda Oaks, met on Thursday with members of the CSD Administration to discuss current COVID-19 positive cases, the response to the rates, and how the District can move forward safely.
To guide the Canyons Board of Education and Administration as the community works together to face this public-health challenge, the following measures will be taken by Canyons District:
- Canyons District will launch a data dashboard that includes school-community positive cases per school for those enrolled in in-person learning, the attendance rate for in-person learning, the number of quarantined students, the percentage of students at each school, and community spread by ZIP code.
- The Canyons’ dashboard will identify by tiers of concern the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the previous two weeks:
- Tier 1 would indicate 0 or 1-5 cases in the previous two weeks.
- Tier 2 would indicate 6 to 14 cases in the previous two weeks.
- Tier 3 would be 15 cases or more in the previous two weeks.
- No action will be required for school communities that are in Tier 1.
- For school communities in Tier 2, a “vigilance letter” will be sent to parents and guardians and enhanced mitigation strategies — such as increased cleaning and sanitation efforts, a reduction in adult visitors and volunteers in the school building, further limitations to in-person meetings, or community-awareness campaigns — will be developed and put into place. The Administration will increase discussion and collaboration with the Salt Lake County Health Department and Board of Education about the affected school communities.
- For school communities in Tier 3, the District will continue collaborative efforts with the health department and identify and discuss other mitigation strategies. The Board of Education will be the final arbiter on any action taken.
- If CSD elementary or middle schools reach a 15-case threshold within a two-week period, the District will engage in immediate discussions with the health department on potential changes in a school’s schedule or other precautionary measures, which may include a temporary pivot to online-learning-only instructional model.
- If any CSD traditional high school reaches a 1 percent positive COVID-19 school-community rate, the District will engage in an immediate discussion with the health department on potential changes to the school schedule or other precautionary measures, such as specific group-activity and/or event temporary suspension or cancellation; the temporary adoption of a split or hybrid schedule; a change to an online-learning-only schedule; and a three-day school closure or pivot to online-instruction-only to allow for deep-cleaning and sanitation at the building. The Board of Education authorizes the Superintendent to make decisions regarding mitigation strategies for schools in Tier 3.
- If any CSD traditional high school reaches a 2 percent COVID-19 school-community positive rate within a two-week period, it will trigger a pivot to online learning for 14 days.
- If there are three or more students in one classroom or involved in an extracurricular activity who test positive within a two-week period, the entire class will be quarantined for 14 days from the last exposure, as determined by contact tracing.
In its decision, the Board and District Administrators addressed a big challenge: If the District would have adopted a 5 or 10 percent threshold, said Board member Amanda Oaks, the amount of required work to track and trace the positive COVID-19 cases becomes overwhelming for school nurses, administrators, and other staff.
Then, teachers are put in the difficult position of having to teach in-person students while also supporting the students on quarantine, who cannot attend class for two weeks.
The greater number of positive cases results in an exponentially greater numbers of students and employees on quarantine. In a short period of time, said Director of Responsive Services Director BJ Weller, a significant number of the school population would be out of school on quarantine or isolation, making it incredibly taxing on already-stressed faculty and administrative staff.
As the school year continues, the District continues to learn lessons about how to respond to the pandemic. Officials stress that this is a fluid situation where what is known about the health threat, and how to combat it, changes quickly.
Districtwide, there have been few COVID-19 cases that can be attributed to a school exposure. Sleuthing out the exact source of transmission can be tricky with COVID-19 because those who are asymptomatic can shed the virus. But evidence suggests the majority of individuals who have tested positive have contracted the virus from a family member or at a non-school activity or event where prevention-controls aren’t as strictly enforced as they are in schools.
The District will continue to closely monitor the situation and take further action as needed.
Questions can be directed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents also can call the District Office at 801-826-5000 while the District Office is open for public business.