WEST VALLEY CITY — A rapid COVID-19 testing program designed to get kids back into the classroom within days instead of weeks started at Granger High School on Monday.
The pilot program, which is the first of its kind in Utah and run by state and county health officials, will run through Tuesday.
Granger High is currently shut down to in-person learning for the third time in as many months because of the virus.
"We can see a lot of frustration in parents' eyes having to go through these dismissals," said Ben Horsley, Granite School District spokesperson. "It's disruptive for a lot of our families and their circumstances."
Horsley said according to their data on students testing positive with the virus, schools are a safe zone, so keeping them home only makes things worse.
"Less than 3% percent of kids are showing transmission on school property. In the Granite School District, over 85% of that is coming from home and social circumstances," said Horsley.
The pilot program is being overseen by officials with the Salt Lake County Health Department and Utah Department of Health. It was organized in a matter of days with the help of Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, who has two sons at Granger High.
"It was all kind of a group effort and we were all able to get this done real quick," Hall told KSL. "The reality is the overall majority of these kids want to go to school in person."
That includes students like Rosa Garcia, who is a junior at Granger High and showed up for testing.
"When they shut down school, I was really upset. I really enjoy school. I like in-person learning. I feel like I get more from that than doing it online," she said.
If the program is successful, it could be expanded to other schools across Utah that have to shut down due to COVID-19 outbreaks.