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Draper charter school shuts down campus after 15 COVID-19 cases

Move comes after Pleasant Grove High alters schedule due to uptick

SHARE Draper charter school shuts down campus after 15 COVID-19 cases

Pleasant Grove High School in Pleasant Grove is pictured on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — On-campus learning was halted at American Preparatory Academy’s Draper 1location on Tuesday after 15 positive cases of COVID-19 were reported at the school.

The move came after Pleasant Grove High School modified its schedule because of multiple coronavirus cases.

According to a statement from the charter schools’ executive director Carolyn Sharette, the Draper school started the academic year on Aug. 19 with about 45% of its students learning from home. Now all students will shift to remote learning.

The school serves students in grades 1-6, according to its website. Last fall, its enrollment was 632 students, according to Utah State Board of Education’s published headcount.

“We always seek to do what’s best for students, families and our staff and we feel this brief pause in on-campus learning is best for our families. We look forward to seeing our students back on campus very soon,” the statement reads.

The charter school is believed to be the first Utah public school to halt in-person learning due to increasing COVID-19 cases but at least one other school has implemented a contingency plan.

On Thursday, Pleasant Grove High School will pivot from full-time in-person learning to a modified schedule due to an uptick of COVID-19 cases, although officials aren’t releasing specific numbers.

Alpine School District spokeswoman Kimberly Bird said the school district’s reopening plan had contingencies to address outbreaks, which include modified schedules and if necessary, closures. But she said the current number of cases does not necessitate closing the school.

Classes were dismissed Tuesday and Wednesday, however, to give teachers time to prepare for the change, according to a letter from Principal Steve Stewart.

As of Monday, the school district reported 67 active positive coronavirus cases among its 91 schools and six district office facilities with 41 cases among students and 26 among employees. The district serves 81,493 students, 76,000 of whom are attending school in person along with more than 8,400 employees. The rate of positive cases is less than 1%, Bird said.

When school resumes Thursday, half of the school’s 2,200 students — whose last names start with A-K — will attend two successive days for their A and B schedules, to be followed by the other half of the student body — last names L-Z — for their A/B days. The groups will continue to switch off every two days. Bird said the schedule may stay in place two or three weeks.

All Utah High School Activities Association events will continue as scheduled. “PGHS will continue to reinforce and mandate the wearing of face masks, social distancing and limiting spectator participation,” a press release states.

Meanwhile, the Utah Department of Heath will conduct free COVID-19 testing at a mobile testing site at the Pleasant Grove outdoor pool parking lot. Testing will be offered on Wednesday from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The district encouraged the larger community to social distance when possible, wear masks and wash hands frequently.

“We’re really encouraging the entire community to come together. COVID-19 is not just a school issue. It’s a community issue. We’re just encouraging people in Pleasant Grove as well as all of our communities to be mindful of the procedures,” said district spokesman David Stephenson.