Increased COVID-19 infection rates are not a surprise to many of us who work with, or in, public schools. This was the concern Utah educators had going into the 2020-21 school year and, sadly, we are seeing our worst fears begin to materialize.
While districts surrounding Granite are facing decisions on whether to close schools, despite the Utah health department’s caution of closing with 15 or more positive Covid-19 cases in a school, many are asking, “What if this were a Granite District school?” From the very beginning, the Granite school board and superintendent have repeatedly said that they are making decisions for the 2020-21 school year based on the state health department’s recommendations. The planning and implementation of health and safety guidelines by district administration and staff have created the safest environment possible for students and employees.
GEA has been re-assured today that this emphasis on health department recommendations is still the standard-bearer for decision making for Granite District’s school board and administration.
Today, the Utah Education Association (UEA) sent a letter to Governor Gary Herbert calling for him to increase the state’s “oversight and compliance” of the health and safety guidelines recommended by the Utah State Department of Health. Public opinion should not change protocols already in place and depended upon by the general public, specifically quarantining schools for a minimum of 14 days when there are 15 or more positive COVID-19 cases in any one location. The state’s commission on public health and the Utah State Board of Education created the COVID-19 School Manual in order to establish guidelines to be followed in the event of mass exposure and in turn should be enforced for the health and safety of all public education employees and the students we serve.
GEA and GSD continue to discuss and collaborate on COVID-19 and other issues each day. We encourage GEA members to reach out to us with concerns so that we may problem-solve effectively.