REMOTE LEARNING

State temporarily suspends test-to-stay programs 

Jan 13, 2022, 4:27 PM | Updated: 6:44 pm
FILE PHOTO: Viewmont High School student Becca Marsden is tested for COVID-19 by Davis School Distr...
FILE PHOTO: Viewmont High School student Becca Marsden is tested for COVID-19 by Davis School District nurse Peggy Petersen at the school in Bountiful on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. The school conducted testing on Wednesday after recent COVID-19 cases among students pushed it past the "test to stay" threshold, where they are required to test students. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – The current record-setting spread of COVID-19 the omicron variant has caused attendance at schools around Utah to nosedive and put a strain on state testing resources. That led Utah Gov. Cox and other state leaders to send a letter to schools that temporarily suspended test-to-stay requirements for schools.  

The Governor, Senate President Stuart Adams, House Speaker Brad Wilson, and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson all signed the letter.  

House Speaker Brad Wilson is among the state leaders who believe current test-to-stay guidelines, are not doing as they were intended, and are depleting testing supplies. 

The letter said, “The surge has challenged students’ learning and stretched educators thin. At the same time, we have reached testing resource capacity, and statutorily required test-to-stay programs in schools are overextending those resources.”  

Wilson explained, “It’s not working with omicron. It’s not the greatest and highest best use of our resources. It’s disrupting our schools, and it’s not effective for the current variant of COVID.” 

Several schools recently notified parents that they crossed the state’s threshold of 2% or more of the school population testing positive for COVID-19. Crossing the threshold automatically made the schools switch to test-to-stay as mandated by the state.  

Students could still attend if they tested negative. 

The letter explained, “Utah Code requires schools to offer in-person instruction at least four days per week. In effect, this means that if a school has provided in-person instruction Monday through this week, the school has met the statuary requirement and is free to offer remote learning on Friday.”  

The code also allows for a temporary exception to the four-day in-person requirement. That request must be approved by the same people who signed Thursday’s letter if they all agree that “the risks to in-person instruction temporarily outweigh the value of in-person instruction.” 

The letter said the legislature will work immediately during the next session which begins next week to “formalize a process for LEA’s to request applications of the exception to the in-person learning requirement.” 

The letter went on to say, “The unique characteristics of the omicron variant, the availability of vaccinations and developing guidance from health authorities, it is necessary to step back from test-to-stay programs, allowing the Utah Department of Health to devote its testing resources to congregate-care facilities, long-term care facilities, and community testing sites.” 

Wilson mirrored that saying we are at a point where COVID-19 tests need to be prioritized for testing centers, and live-in care centers. 

“I know we have a lot of tests that have been on order for a long time,” said Wilson. “We’ve expected them to come, they haven’t yet. The state health department I think has done a great job of trying to keep those orders in, but the tests just aren’t coming.” 

__________________________________________________________________________________

Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

Click here to sign up for a vaccine and here to see how Utah’s vaccine rollout is progressing.

The latest COVID-19 stories from KSL can be found here.

How do I prevent it?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Remote Learning

FILE PHOTO: Viewmont High School student Becca Marsden is tested for COVID-19 by Davis School Distr...
Tamara Vaifanua, KSL TV

Utah House votes to suspend Test to Stay program

Lawmakers in the Utah House of Representatives have approved a bill that would suspend the state's Test to Stay program and clarify how schools would request to go remote.
4 months ago
(KSL TV)...
Madison Swenson, KSL TV

Salt Lake City schools switching to remote learning this week

All schools in the Salt Lake City School District are temporarily moving to remote learning after Gov. Spencer Cox put a hold on Test to Stay events.
4 months ago
Viewmont High School in Bountiful is now in the test-to-stay protocol. (KSL TV)...
Mike Anderson & Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

One school in Davis School District crossed test-to-stay threshold, two more are close

As the historic omicron surge runs through Utah classrooms, nearly a dozen schools were forced to test their students to determine who stays in person. Viewmont High School in Bountiful enforced that protocol Tuesday.
4 months ago
Park City High School. (Google Earth Pro)...
Tamara Vaifanua, KSL TV

Park City High School implements Test to Stay; more schools could follow

The rising number of omicron cases is now forcing schools to screen which students can attend in person. News Specialist Tamara Vaifanua tells us how some schools have hit the threshold for Test to Stay protocols, and others are pretty close.
5 months ago
Edgemont Elementary School in Provo, Utah. (Provo City School District)...
Madison Swenson, KSL TV

Edgemont Elementary moves to remote learning after test-to-stay event

Edgemont Elementary School in Provo is moving to remote or online learning due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
8 months ago
Merri Compton is in the MBA program at the University of Utah. She says when she got sick with COVI...
Heather Simonsen, KSL TV

U. student in quarantine worries she’ll fall behind without Zoom options

A University of Utah student, who is sick with COVID-19, said she's concerned the school isn't doing enough to prevent quarantined students from getting behind in their coursework. KSL-TV spoke with a university official about their guidelines.
9 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
State temporarily suspends test-to-stay programs