Parents Express Concern About Who Decides School Closures
RIVERTON, Utah – When it comes to closing schools, is it up to the School Boards or Health Departments? The question was raised during an emergency meeting in Riverton on Wednesday.
It’s a major concern for parents at Riverton High School. The school is currently closed for 2 days, but who makes a final, long-term decision?
It’s a concern this Riverton High School parent expressed during Wednesday’s emergency meeting with the school board.
“I’m just a mom of four kids who everyday are hoping they get to stay in school,” a parent said at the Jordan School District emergency meeting.
“I know we’re in a pandemic, and there’s a virus, and we need to be careful but we also want to balance health,” another parent said.
In a statement, Salt Lake County Health Department said there isn’t a uniform point for decisions.
“If Salt Lake County Health Department determines that there is a need to order a closure of a school or business, we will take that action. There is not a uniform trigger point that would require such action as each circumstance is different,” the statement read.
On the state level, Health Officials said on Thursday they want to keep the decision at the local level.
“We know that the local school boards when they work with their local health departments. They can come up with a really good solution that works for both parties,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, Sate Epidemiologist.
Governor Herbert’s office said that a statewide school shutdown would require a public health order in conjunction with the Utah Department of Health as well as the Utah State Board Of Education
Herbert wants school districts to have the flexibility to make the final decision.
“The process allows for the stakeholders in the school district to get together and say here is the data, here is what is happening, here is recommendations but what should we actually do,” he said.
KSL TV reached out to the Jordan school board president Bryce Dunford for clarification and are waiting for their reply. The Canyons School District also said they will make the decision in collaboration with local and state health authorities, but ultimately, the School Board gets the final say.
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