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Rise of COVID-19 cases means more Utah schools move online until after Thanksgiving break

Microbiologist Ramesh Vuppada loads PCR plates with SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) — at Utah Public Health Laboratory in Taylorsville on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.
Microbiologist Ramesh Vuppada loads PCR plates with SARS-CoV-2 — the coronavirus that causes COVID-19) — at Utah Public Health Laboratory in Taylorsville on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Tooele High School will move to digital learning on Tuesday after reaching the positive COVID-19 case threshold that requires schools to confer with local health authorities to take action to stem the spread of the virus.

There are 17 active cases at the school, according to the district dashboard.

It is anticipated that students will return to school on Nov. 30 following the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Please be flexible with the return date in the event there are changes made,” the school website states.

At Coalville’s North Summit High School, students will also move to remote learning on Tuesday due to a “rapid increase” in COVID-19 cases. In-person learning is expected to resume Nov. 30.

In Davis County, Legacy and Syracuse junior high schools will move to virtual classes on Wednesday through Nov. 30. Both schools will observe a “soft closure” on Tuesday. Schools are closed Nov. 25-27 for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is anticipated the schools will resume in-person classes on Dec. 1.

Bountiful, Davis, Farmington, Layton, Viewmont and Wood Cross high schools, as well as Shoreline Junior High School, previously moved to remote learning because of COVID-19. In-person instruction in those schools is anticipated to resume on Nov. 30.

Two other Davis School District high schools, Northridge and Syracuse, also remain in soft closure, with students continuing to attend school virtually. Northridge students will return to in-person classes Wednesday, while Syracuse students return to in-person classes on Thursday.

Increasing numbers of Utah schools have pivoted to remote learning until Nov. 30 as cases of COVID-19 have climbed and numbers of quarantined students and staff increase. Some schools are also reporting increasing difficulty finding enough substitute teachers to cover educators’ classes.

Teachers report challenges in managing their instructional loads that include in-person learning and supporting remote learning of students who are quarantining or are in isolation because they are ill.

While school-based transmission of COVID-19 is relatively low in general, secondary schools in Utah have far more cases than elementary schools, health data indicates.