Thousands of elementary students traded their beach towels for school books as year-round school schedules resumed Monday along the Wasatch Front.
Some 25,000 students in the Jordan School District went back to classes in 28 schools, including the brand new Oak Hollow, Elk Meadows, Jordan Hills and Rose Creek elementary schools. The school openings added one school each in Draper, South Jordan, West Jordan and Riverton."We are thrilled to be able to open four year-round schools to help with our growth. Keep in mind, one year-round school equals three schools," since students attend classes on different tracks, district spokeswoman Melinda Rock said. Two-thirds of the district's elementary school students attend schools on year-round schedules.
Classes also resumed at Riverton Elementary, closed five months while environmental crews conducted tests to determine why students and staff were occasionally sickened in the three-year-old building.
No cause was singled out, although test results suggest some people may have been affected by barely measurable accumulations of sewer gases in the school. Fifths disease, a common virus, appears a likely cause of rashes suffered by some 20 students at the school on Feb. 24. The incident prompted the school closure.
Riverton Elementary School principal Bonnie Dahl said students and staff were happy to return to school.
"It's wonderful. Everything worked out well. The children are happy to be here and we're happy to see children in our halls again. At our open house, one little boy ran up the building and kissed and hugged it," she said.
The school district has reconfigured the school's sewer and crews have installed a round-the-clock air quality monitoring system that provides a written report every 10 minutes.
Jordan District spokeswoman Rock implored drivers to exercise caution and urged parents to stress safety with their children. Many children, particularly those attending new schools have never walked to school. Previously, they were bused to their respective schools.
"We need everyone to use caution here and realize it's the start of the new school year," Rock said.
In Granite School District, some 12,000 students in 15 schools returned to classes Monday, said spokeswoman Michele Bartmess. Three of four tracks resumed classes.
"We would hope the motorists would be aware of the fact school is in session again and at those times of the morning and afternoon they would be especially careful," Bartmess said.
In Davis School District, students at 15 elementary schools went back to school as well.
Five Salt Lake School District elementary schools that observe year-round schedules - Bennion, Franklin, Parkview, Rose Park and Whittier - resumed classes on July 20.
Students observing traditional schedules will return to school on Aug. 31 in some districts, Sept. 2 in others.