WEST JORDAN — Amid spiking cases of COVID-19 and growing numbers of students and educators on quarantine, the Jordan School District will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss possible action for at least 10 middle schools and three high schools.
As of Tuesday, the district had 441 active cases of COVID-19, according to its dashboard, and 2,856 students and staff quarantined.
“As anyone looking at the dashboard can see, and as we notified the board today, numbers are up. We had the largest uptick in the number of cases that we’ve reported so far,” said Jordan School District Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. Case counts climbed by 84 since Monday.
Two high schools and one middle school have more than 200 people quarantined — Elk Ridge Middle School in South Jordan with 240; 222 at Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman; and 205 at Herriman High School.
Meanwhile, Copper Hills High School in West Jordan has 196 on quarantine but has already moved to online learning through Nov. 24.
At Hidden Valley Middle School in Bluffdale, nearly 25% of the students and staff are quarantined.
At Elk Ridge Middle School in South Jordan, there are eight teachers on quarantine along with five instructional aides, and not all requests for substitute teachers could be filled.
West Jordan’s West Hills Middle School has 12 cases “but their contact tracing is showing that it is an in-school explosion, so they’re very worried about what’s going to happen in the next day or two. They have 196 students on quarantine, which is making it very difficult to cover classes,” said board member Janice Voorhies.
Each of the board members expressed concern about the rising cases and the toll exacted as teachers attempt to balance workloads between in-person students and those in quarantine or otherwise absent.
“Our middle schools are in critical condition right now. And if we push it off (making decisions) longer … it’s just going to be harder,” said board member Darrell Robinson.
A straw poll among the board suggested no appetite for a blanket order to pivot all middle and high schools to online learning until winter break.
Late last week, the Utah Education Association urged Gov. Gary Herbert or local school boards to order all public secondary schools in communities with high rates of COVID-19 transmission to pivot to remote instruction from the Thanksgiving holiday through winter break.
Herbert’s sweeping order announced Sunday night temporarily halted extracurricular activities with the exception of high school football championships, but did not address a switch to remote learning.
The Jordan School Board discussed the proposal briefly but took no action. Board President Bryce Dunford said the board’s preference at this time is to “deal with schools on a case-by-case basis. We do not intend to have all schools on virtual learning from now until Christmas.”
The board spent Tuesday’s work session teeing up for Wednesday’s meeting, which will include reviewing numbers of cases at individual schools, numbers of students and staff on quarantine, and students who are otherwise absent.
Dunford said the board took no action Tuesday to give parents a day to contact their board members to express their concerns.
The schools include Copper Mountain, Elk Ridge, Fort Herriman, Hidden Valley, Mountain Creek, Oquirrh Hills, South Hills, South Jordan, Sunset Ridge, West Hills and West Jordan middle schools — all but two of the district’s middle schools.
The list also includes Herriman, Bingham and Mountain Ridge high schools.
As data changes, other schools could be added, Dunford said.
More stories you may be interested in
13 Jordan District schools on emergency meeting agenda after spike in COVID-19 cases, quarantines /p>