Teacher Starts Facebook Page To Track COVID-19 Cases Near Schools
WEST JORDAN, Utah – Teacher Wendy Moss – along with many other educators – feels teaching in the current conditions is dangerous.
She began tracking COVID-19 positivity rates on the Salt Lake County Health Department’s website and compiled them onto a Facebook page. She said her goal is to do what she feels the districts aren’t doing and show the risk levels of opening schools in certain areas.
“I just want to help as many people avoid what I see is the problem,” she said.
Moss has been a teacher for six years, and she said she believes the upcoming school year will be the most disorganized one yet.
“A lot of teachers … have it in their mind that we are going to get shut down,” she said.
She started the Safe Utah Schools Facebook page to publish maps using the SLCHD COVID-19 cases by zip code so parents could see infection positivity rates as they make decisions on sending their children back to school.
The World Health Organization recommends schools don’t reopen unless their community positivity rate is below 5%, which is not the case for many school districts in Utah. For example, the east side of the Granite School District is seeing 3% – 5% positivity rates while the west side is seeing rates as high as 20%.
“Even though Granite, on our averages, said it’s 10%, that wasn’t necessarily representative of all the communities,” Moss said.
The response to Moss’s work has been overwhelming. However, she said she shouldn’t have been the one compiling the information to begin with.
“It would have been nice for the state to put this all out for the school districts,” she said. “The health departments don’t collect the data by zip code. It’s only Salt Lake County.”
Even though the elementary school math teacher isn’t the one making the final decisions, Moss said she feels informing others is the least she can do.
“If this goes bad, which I really think it will – I hope I’m wrong – but if it does, I will be able to say I did everything I could,” she said.
KSL TV reached out to the Salt Lake County Health Department and the Utah Department of Health to see if those departments follow guidelines similar to those set by the WHO. The departments were unable to answer the question, and both referred KSL TV to the other department.
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