CORONAVIRUS UTAH

14 Jordan School District Schools Moving Online After Emergency Meeting

Nov 11, 2020, 5:34 PM | Updated: 11:45 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah – Fourteen more schools are leaving the classroom and going virtual in the Jordan School District, because of what the district’s board described as an uptick in COVID-19 cases, quarantines and absences.

“We are very concerned about the high rise in the number of COVID cases,” said Tracy Miller, vice president on the Jordan School District board. “The burden has just become so high on the staff and teachers at this school that we’re concerned.”

Board members voted to move Riverton, Herriman, Mountain Ridge, West Jordan and Bingham high schools, along with nine middle schools, to online learning during Wednesday’s emergency meeting.

The middle schools included Elk Ridge, Mountain Creek, Fort Herriman, Hidden Valley, Copper Mountain, Sunset Ridge, West Hills, West Jordan and South Jordan.

Middle schools will use Thursday as a waiver day, meaning no instruction, with Friday acting as a normal virtual day and online classes starting Monday.

All schools plan to return to in-person classes on Monday, Nov. 30.

Board members said many of the 14 schools are seeing 25% or more of their school population out on quarantine, plus additional absences.

“They’re teaching all day with the kids in their classes and spending all night with the kids on quarantine,” Miller said of the teachers. “Teachers and staff who are on quarantine or have COVID. Those who are in the school have to cover those out of school.”

Around 2,000 people tuned into the online stream near the beginning. A handful of them showed up in person. One of them was Joe Maio, a parent of two children in the district.

“I don’t think they’re taking into consideration the long-term effects of what’s actually happening here,” Maio said. “I understand things are happening and we have some cases going up. The cure has now become worse than the disease.”

Maio wanted to see a public comment period rather than just a request for feedback by email. He was frustrated to see some schools going online that do not meet the health department threshold of 15 COVID-19 cases and questioned why some schools were waiting to go online.

“When do the kids start becoming more of a priority with their learning,” he said. “Stop living in fear. It’s a virus. It’s here. It’s going to happen.”

As board members talked about each school, one by one, the one student in attendance at the meeting wondered what it would mean for her.

“As an AP student, all we’re asking is that we’re given same exceptions that the athletes are getting,” said Olivia Allen, a senior at Mountain Ridge High. “We’ve just super safe in our classes and so we just want the chance to keep learning and benefiting because we’ve invested a lot of time and money into succeeding in our college-level classes so we just want to be as successful as we can.”

Miller stressed, “we know that most of our kids learn better in person. We want our kids in school.”

By the end of the night, she and the other school board members voted to move nine middle schools and five high schools online, beginning either this week or next. They determined this would be best for students and teachers during this unique school year. And they hope it will offer some relief to teachers and staff.

Here is a list of schools that are expected to remain online through the Thanksgiving break:

  • Copper Mountain Middle
  • Elk Ridge Middle
  • Fort Herriman Middle
  • Hidden Valley Middle
  • Mountain Creek Middle
  • South Jordan Middle
  • Sunset Ridge Middle
  • West Hills Middle
  • West Jordan Middle
  • Bingham High
  • Herriman High
  • Mountain Ridge High
  • Riverton High
  • West Jordan High

Bingham will have a waiver day on Monday, Herriman will use its waiver day Thursday and Mountain Ridge will begin online learning Thursday. West Jordan and Riverton will be in-person Thursday with a virtual day Friday and online classes beginning Monday.

Officials said 25% of Elk Ridge’s student body has been quarantined and there were over 20 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. They will use a waiver day and have no class Thursday.

The board paused their meeting due to technical difficulties with their stream, which appeared connected to nationwide reports of outages at YouTube.

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14 Jordan School District Schools Moving Online After Emergency Meeting