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The Utah Governor’s guidelines on school reopening borders on insane

Ok Park City Teachers, now I’ll forgive you if you strike, just don’t come to school, or lobby hard to be one of the remote-teachers. In what may be some of the craziest talk I’ve heard from a Utah official (and that says something), Governor Herbert today provided 102 pages of guidelines on reopening schools. Some of it is downright crazy.

Here are some highlights of the guidelines from the Salt Lake Tribune:

Officials have come up with a concept they call a modified quarantine. This means children can immediately come back to school after close contact with someone who has the corona virus — as long as the child doesn’t have symptoms and no one in their household has tested positive. Translation: Don’t worry, this thing doesn’t spread asymptomatically at all. If a child doesn’t have a fever, he cannot get anyone else sick. Please ignore just about everything you have ever read about this virus. It’s all going to be OK. We NEED your kid in school.


Teachers can also feel free to come to school after being in close contact with someone with Covid-19, “especially in cases where there are no substitutes available. If having a substitute teacher will negatively impact student learning or there is not another employee who can do the job of the person who was exposed, teachers and employees who have had an exposure to COVID-19, but who do not have symptoms, may go to work.” Translation: Teachers stay home if you’re sick, unless of course there aren’t enough substitutes, which there won’t be because substitutes aren’t stupid. So, please come to work and infect your co-workers and students. We need you.


A school should only shut-down after 15 concurrent cases of Covid-19 at the school. Then they are remote for two weeks and then back to school. Translation: Ignore exponential growth. Pray for R0 to stay under 1.


A class should be remote-only after 3 concurrent cases in the class. After two weeks, they are back. Translation: See 15 per school above. However, the 14 day rule makes some sense given research that says people are only contagious for 11 days after symptoms appear. But please ignore that 3 other people probably got Covid in the class and they will show symptoms right about the time everyone returns.


However, if a student is exposed to someone with Covid-19, they are prohibited from clubs and sports because  “it increases the number of people they may expose to the virus that causes COVID-19.” But they can come to class and school. Translation: You are much more likely to spread corona virus on a well-ventilated and outdoor soccer field than you are sitting in a classroom for six hours, with 30 other kids, 4 feet apart. The scientific minds at the state of Utah never cease to amaze.


The guidelines highlight that students, teachers, and staff are likely to be exposed “many times during the year” to Covid-19. Translation: Schools are going to be like those chicken-pox parties during the 1980s. Yeah, let’s get everyone infected so they don’t get chicken pox again. SHHH don’t tell them about shingles.


When a student or teacher contracts Covid-19, the entire class or school will not be informed. Only those people who have come into contact within 6-feet for 15 minutes or longer will be notified. Translation: If we tell people that other people around them at school have Covid-19, those people may get tested too. That would make our case numbers look really bad once school starts. That could shut down schools and we will do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen.


Schools can make a list of high-risk individuals. Then those high-risk individuals who have been in the same room as the infected person will be notified of Covid-19. Translation: Park City Schools should list all teachers and children as high-risk.


Janitors should wait 24 hours before disinfecting a classroom with an infected individual because that will give the virus time to die-off. Translation: they haven’t read that the virus lives on glass for 4-days. Furthermore, they don’t seem to realize that in that 24 hours, unless the classroom is entirely shutdown, that the entire class will be in the classroom the next day without it being sanitized.


If you are a glutton for punishment, you can read the entire 102 pages of guidelines below. If you’re like me, you’ll start reading the document and think some of it is reasonable (which it is). You’ll read something that says children and teachers should quarantine for 14 days if they’ve been exposed to someone with the virus, and you’ll think, “yeah that’s what I have always heard. What is the Park Rag talking about?” Just keep reading the guidelines.

Then you’ll learn about modified quarantine which says children who have been in close contact with Corona Virus can keep on coming to school, as long as they are symptom free. You’ll learn that teachers should quarantine at home upon exposure, unless there is no one else to teach their class. You know, because teaching is more important than the health of everyone at the school.

This whole thing is kind of bizarre. I feel for you teachers. This document is the opposite of whatever would inspire confidence. I’m probably still sending my kids to in-person school. Mostly because I hope the rest of you parents aren’t crazy enough to do that :-). That said, this makes me strongly reconsider in-person learning.

Comments

3 Comments

Avatar
Nic

That’s the fighting spirit! Let’s just hide out in our homes until the bad virus goes away! Come on man while I agree that the guidelines provide some humor the bottom line is there is not enough resources or time to totally insulate our children. Parents will have weigh risk over educational value. Disease has been a part of mankind’s experience for thousands of years, as has famine and war. As is stands now 90% of the population will experience effects, life will and must go forward…..can imagine if the US decided not to go to war in 1942 because the risk was too high or not fight the civil war because young people would die? These are dramatic illustrations however tough decisions have to be made for the benefit of society overall.

Avatar
Parkrag

Hi Nic-

You make some good points. I think it’s an easier decision for parents than for teachers, as children seem to spread the disease less. However, if you are a teacher around 30 kids all day, the calculation that kids are less virulent starts to fall down due to the sheer numbers. That said, all those decisions are going to come down to the individual.

I just wish the Guv would stay out of it. He and the State Health Department did nothing to help the situation. Let the school districts define their rules. Let parents make decisions based on that. Let teachers provide feedback to school Administrators. Let school Administrators provide feedback to the district. Rinse repeat.

Getting “guidelines” from the state that redefine words like quarantine makes me feel like I’m reading Orwell. I wouldn’t be surprised if come October they redefine the word infected to mean only people that are hospitalized. One hundred kids at the high school have taken a test that says they have Corona virus, but only ten are in the hospital. Since only ten are “modified-infected” and ten is less than fifteen, you must keep the high school open.

The state’s response on this is just really strange.

Avatar
Walt

I assume you’ve got your background check done and are all set to substitute teach, right Nick?


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