CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Utah House votes to suspend Test to Stay program

Jan 24, 2022, 12:26 PM | Updated: 7:09 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — 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.

Salt Lake County schools returned to in-person learning after a week of remote learning.

Masks are no longer required, and COVID-19 case counts reset to zero.

Meantime, lawmakers are addressing Utah’s Test to Stay program with HB183. The Senate approved the bill last week, saying it would allow schools to pivot to remote learning.

“Last year for example, one of the schools in my district, Copper Hills High School, the highest number they had was about 50, and last week, they had over 500 cases,” said Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R–South Jordan.

Teuscher said schools can choose to implement Test to Stay protocols, but if they want to switch to distance learning, they’ll have to get approval from Gov. Spencer Cox, legislative leaders and the state superintendent.

“In the case where you get a different variant where Test to Stay makes more sense, then you’d likely see the governor, speaker of the house, senate president and superintendent implementing it so they could cover the cost,” Teuscher said.

The House passed HB183 on a 55-16 vote. It now goes to Cox for his signature.

Sen. Luz Escamilla sent this statement to KSL TV Monday evening:

“My greatest concern with H.B. 183, In-person Learning Amendments, is the lack of direction provided to schools when addressing shortages of teachers, administrators, and staff support in the middle of a pandemic. The amendment I proposed on the Senate Floor included a component to ensure in-person instruction corresponds with public health guidance from the CDC. Additionally, my amendment would have provided a tool for the State Board to establish minimum operational thresholds for school staffing to support safe and effective in-person learning environments. We must have a process in place to address staff shortages in our schools—a reality we continue to face. It is essential for our children to be instructed in learning environments with enough faculty and staff to operate a school at a bare minimum.”

Some parents, teachers ‘frustrated’ SLC schools can no longer require masks

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Utah House votes to suspend Test to Stay program