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Scott G Winterton, KSL

Olympus High School community a COVID-19 'hot spot,' email to families says

By Marjorie Cortez, KSL | Updated - Sep. 21, 2020 at 10:36 p.m. | Posted - Sep. 21, 2020 at 7:12 p.m.



HOLLADAY — In the face of a recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Salt Lake County, an email sent to the Olympus High School community warned the area is “a hot spot” and urged students and families to follow public health protocols intended to help reduce spread of the virus.

“It is clear that the overwhelming majority of the transmission that is occurring is happening outside of school in social and family circumstances. While we continue to do everything we can at your school, we need your help and support to ensure our students and staff can remain healthy and stay safe,” the email said in part.

“Please make sure your family is adhering to the countywide health order to avoid large group gatherings, and wearing a mask in public and especially when social distancing is not possible.”

This was the third such communication sent to the school community expressing concern about growing numbers of cases and steps to mitigate spread of coronavirus.

At nearby Skyline High School, district officials shut down the football program for two weeks after four students in the school’s football class tested positive for COVID-19.

The fifth-ranked Eagles were scheduled to play rival and top-ranked Brighton High School on Friday. Both teams are undefeated.

Karyn Winder, president of the Granite School District Board of Education, in a statement, said the school board committed to its communities and teachers in July to abide by state health department guidance and recommendations on outbreaks.

“We are not inclined to disregard the scientifically based recommendations. Safety for our students, their families and employees will continue to be paramount above all else,” she said.

Meanwhile, numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases at Alta High School have exceeded 15, a threshold at which the Salt Lake County Health Department recommends a pivot to distance learning and no activities.

Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney said there are 18 confirmed cases at the school, but that does not meet the district’s threshold approved by the school board on Friday that triggers actions after 1% or 2% of the student body is positive for COVID-19 over a two-week period. Some 2,300 students attend the Sandy school.

When a traditional high school in the district reaches a 1% positive COVID-19 school-community rate within a two-week period, the school district will engage with the local health department on potential changes to the school schedule or other precautionary measures.

If a Canyons District high school reaches a 2% COVID-19 school-community positive rate within a two-week period, it will trigger a pivot to online learning for 14 days.

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However, the 18 cases mean the school has reached the district’s Tier 2 criteria, which means a “vigilance letter” will be sent to parents and guardians, and enhanced mitigation strategies will be developed and put into place.

Corner Canyon High School commenced a two-week period of distance learning on Monday, the result of some 70 cases at the school. Among those cases is career and technical education teacher Charri Jensen, who remains hospitalized for treatment.

Her daughter, Talesha Jensen, said Monday that her mother “is doing good.” Her care team is working to wean her from sedation and take her off a ventilator, she said.

COVID-19 testing was scheduled Monday afternoon at the school from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. More testing will be available next Monday, Sept. 28, at the same time.

Late Monday, Copper Hills High in the Jordan School District in a message to parents canceled all classes, in person and online, on Tuesday to allow for deep cleaning at the school after more than 15 COVID-19 cases were confirmed there. Activities were also canceled, according to the message, which indicated more information about potential changes to the class schedule would be forthcoming.

On Friday, the county health department reported that Brighton High School had also exceeded 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past two weeks. Late last week, Canyons School District Superintendent Rick Robins said there were 19 cases. Just over 2,102 students attend the school.

Elsewhere, Alpine School District’s Timpanogos High School closed on Monday for deep cleaning and to give teachers time to plan for a shift to a modified schedule after an outbreak at the Orem school.

On Tuesday, half of the student body will begin attending in person for two days followed by the other half of students for two days.

“We encourage all students, families and community members to do their part to help curb the increased number of positive COVID-19 cases,” said spokesman David Stephenson.

In Davis County, Viewmont High School’s football team was placed on a two-week quarantine due to multiple positive COVID-19 cases within the program, said Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams. Viewmont’s next two games, against Farmington and Bountiful, respectively, have been postponed.

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