Gov. Gary Herbert announces K-12 schools, technical colleges to be dismissed until May 1

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SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert announced Monday that Utah’s K-12 schools will extend their dismissal until May 1, and Utah’s technical colleges will suspend teaching from March 30 through May 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release, Herbert expressed his gratitude toward Utah educators for their ability to adapt their instruction for remote capabilities.

“These are unprecedented times in Utah’s and our nation’s history,” Herbert said in the statement. “I have been overwhelmed with Utahns’ outpouring of support for one another.”

Meal services will continue on an as-needed basis according to the statement. Details can be found on the Utah State Board of Education live map.

In addition, all Utah technical colleges will temporarily cease instruction and coursework beginning March 30 through May 1 due to the hands-on nature of instruction.

“College presidents have discretion to address limited exceptions for delivering coursework online or for individuals or small groups of students nearing completion,” according to the statement, but would still need to obey guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While Washington County School District teachers and administration are set to begin remote instruction Wednesday through Friday, the district has been preparing for online instruction to be extended, district communications director Steven Dunham told St. George News. The board sent a letter to employees and staff on Monday to address precautions to take as school resumes from spring break.

The letter states that it’s important for teachers and staff to exercise a higher degree of caution. Dunham said employees who’ve had an elevated risk of exposure, like traveling to high-risk locations or having been in close proximity with large groups of people, are being asked to exercise an abundance of caution by not coming into work until they’ve “completed a reasonable self-quarantine.”

The priority for Monday and Tuesday is to develop curriculum and remote delivering capabilities to ensure that teachers and teams can accomplish the work.

“While we’re confident teachers will be able to teach from home, and many paraprofessionals will be able to assist teachers, we anticipate that some classified employees may not be able to complete their work outside of the school or their office for a variety of reasons,” he said.

Dunham said the board understands the potential this could have.

“We’re working to find options to help. And we haven’t let anybody go. We’ll continue to look and provide options as they come available.”

The district has asked paraprofessionals to come into work to help, and that “additional duties may be assigned,” which could include helping with grab-and-go lunches or riding in a bus to help deliver said meals.

“There will be additional duties,” he said.

School secretaries and other administrative employees will be at the schools for work, but the schools will likely be locked, he said. An appointment made by phone is required for students to pick up materials such as packets or Chromebooks. The district will also provide required educational services for special education students.

The COVID-19 Task Force, Utah Department of Health and the governor will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation in order to determine the best course for the remainder of the school year.

For more information visit the Utah State Board of Education website or contact your local school or district.

COVID-19 information resources

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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