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Corner Canyon High School in Draper
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Corner Canyon High School Moving Online After Increasing COVID Cases

DRAPER, Utah – Corner Canyon High School is moving online, one of a handful of changes that came from the Canyons School Board’s emergency meeting Friday when the Canyons School District reported 151 total cases and more than 1,500 people quarantined.

It’s been a school year full of changes. And a small rally outside of the district office Friday was an example of the ongoing debate surrounding COVID in the classroom.

A few parents and students stood with signs, adding their voice to keep students learning in the classroom. They sometimes got into a back and forth with a few teachers who showed up advocating for safety and better communication from the district. At least some of them also wanted schools to remain open.

“There’s just been no transparency. Teachers don’t know what’s going on. We’re not getting information,” said Lisa Young, a special education teacher at Corner Canyon High School.

Her school recently moved to a hybrid schedule after a spike in virus cases. As of Friday, there were more than 70 positive cases at the school. Enough for the school board to decide to send everyone home for remote learning over the next two weeks.

Young’s colleague, Charri Jensen, is currently battling the virus in the ICU.

“That was one of our worst nightmares,” Young said. “That was what we feared the most as teachers.”

And Young has a reason to fear more than others. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in January.

“I’ve been through chemo treatments, surgery,” she said. “But I love my job and I want to be there. So, I’m there using a lot of hand sanitizer…not social distancing so much because it’s hard to do that when you need to be right there next to a student teaching.”

The district says parents overwhelmingly want to keep their kids in school, even if it’s a hybrid schedule. Three other schools in the district – Alta high school, Draper Park Middle and Brighton high are inching closer to the state’s 15 case threshold. But on Friday, the board decided that number needed to change for their much larger high schools.

“The flat number of 15 would be vastly different at a school of 2,400 than it would at a school of 150,” said Jeff Haney, district spokesman.

Moving forward, if any high school reaches a 1% positive school-associated rate, the district will begin looking at potential changes to learning. A 2% rate will trigger a move online for the school.

“We need to make sure we’re on the same page with the teachers about when it is dangerous and when schools need to be shut down,” said Emily Pierce, who had children at Alta high school.

Pierce wants to see her kids remain in the classroom, saying, “school is essential. These teachers are essential workers.” And she hopes to see the conversation shift from the virus.

“My family’s been affected with suicide and depression these last six months and we’re not talking about it enough,” she said.

The Canyons school district is focused on curbing the spread of the virus. A new data dashboard approved Friday is now available on the district website. According to the website, It includes “school-associated positive cases per school for those enrolled in in-person learning, the attendance rate for in-person learning, the number of quarantined students, the percentage of students at each school, and community spread by ZIP code.”

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